Wednesday, December 03, 2008

If you aren't adding value...

I'm in Frankfurt, Germany attending Gartner's Strategy and Technology conference. This is the first time I have attended this type of show. As you know, I typically hang out at the identity management related shows. This show as been very interesting for me because the discussions have been less product-centric and much more strategic oriented.

There are a number of topics that I am going to blog about regarding what I've seen at this show and the customers I have talked about but I wanted to focus this post on value. When I say value I don't mean the value that infrastructure software or hardware might be delivering to your company but the value that YOU yourself are delivering to your company.

In case you haven't noticed, we as an industry and as a global economy have hit a dip in the road. I don't think we know if what we've hit is a dip, a hole, a canyon or a chasm. Either way, many companies have decided to scale back their spending or are actually laying off staff. A long time ago I learned that during turbulent times the best thing to do is put your head down, do your work, show the value you are adding and continue to deliver on your commitments. In other words, continue to deliver value to your company, your peers and your managers.

Today, delivering value really means showing how you are helping to reduce costs and improve operational efficiency. This is also known as: Doing more with less. So is the role within your company to improve IT operational efficiency or helping to reduce IT costs? If so, put your head down, do your work and show your value.

If you are not involved in helping your company to reduce costs and improve operational efficiency then I think you need to put your head down and start making some telephone calls. Companies are focusing on costs right now. If you are focused on helping to reduce costs then great. If you are focused on "rocket science" projects then you may be at risk. What are some of the specific "rocket science" areas that are at risk? Compliance, security "policy", cloud computing, software/security/identity as a service, risk analyst or advisor are areas that I'd not want to be in at the moment. I've met a number of people who are now re-tooling their business cards from one of these soft and squishy titles to something hard like firewall expert or intrusion detection expert.

Companies are going to focus on cost savings more and more as this "dip" in the road continues. "Rocket science" projects are being canceled or, at best, being delayed. From what I am seeing over here in Europe my advice would be to ensure that you, in your role today, are helping to deliver hard savings, economies and improved operational efficiency to your company.

Are you adding value?

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why do you have "cloud computing" in the no-obvious-value category? I would probably have SOA there but not Cloud Computing in general.

True that Cloud Computing is a buzz term with a lot of hype and smoke in the mirrors. But cloud computing (using external "rented" compute & storage resources instead of building your own datacenters) is a way to get IT projects up and running without requiring significant investment.

This makes the technology very useful these days. I am not saying that cloud computing should be applied for everything, but there definitely is a significant class of tasks where it shines.