Wake up to IT investment

Every share-price dip brings a smug smile spread across the flabby jowls of those who, through lack of imagination, rather than foresight, avoided spending on innovative technology.

The spending collapse is really a painful but natural part of the evolution of a young industry.

But in the minds of the nouveau-Luddite, it’s a sign that them thar new-fangled ‘pooters and that weird-world webby thing have been driven out by good ol’ fashioned common sense.

The amazing thing is how many leaders in the public and private sector share the sawdust-on-the-floor attitude to business.

What do you say to a boss who proudly boasts about not being able to work his email?

‘You’re an idiot who needs replacing with something more dexterous – say, an earthworm.’

Maybe not! But it’s not in the long-term interests of the company to give in too easily.

A bit of backbone is needed by some of today’s IT advocates.

In the long run, an organisation will not thank the manager who kept quiet about the potential for technology-led growth while competitors stole a march.

A smart company can see beyond today’s bottom line to the real potential of computing, e-business, web services etc. There are those who understand that instant financial payback is not the only way to judge the value of IT.

Surveys suggest that someone may just be the accountant.

A recent survey of global businesses by CFO Research Services suggests that the finance department is more willing to talk about the contribution of IT to customer satisfaction, time-savings and future growth than the IT director.

Maybe the finance-IT department alliance will help the nation’s businesses regain their confidence in the power of technology, while others cling on to their abacuses.

As that old song from Oklahoma! goes: ‘The farmer and the cowboy should be friends.’

You decide who the cowboy is.

  • Mike Gubbins is editor of Computing.

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