Now that we’re all back at work and the excesses of the festive season are wearing off, personally at least, I have been talking to my colleagues and clients in the IT world about whether or not they will be making any new professional resolutions for 2010.
Whilst people’s views varied in the specifics, there were some common themes, which I think reflect very much on the economy, but also show where we are in terms of a number of key technologies which look like they may break into the mainstream this year.
So, my top five. I hope they help you in your role to ‘get fit’ for the new IT year!
1) Look after your people
Wherever you are in the IT services world, this year ‘attrition’ will be an agenda item that your leadership team will be debating again. For the past couple of years, we’ve worried more about whether or not we’d need to lay people off, and if we were hiring, it was in very niche areas, in very small numbers.
This year however, the ‘War for Talent’ is definitely back and we therefore need to remember all those things that made this a great sector to work within in the past!
Compensation will of course be a key theme, but there are many others ways to make the working life of your staff more rewarding, and some attention to these early in the year will pay dividends.
Invest in training, take some risks by giving more or new responsibilities to stretch and challenge them, ensure they understand the business context in which their work is being rolled out and used. And most importantly, take the time to talk to your people and make them feel valued. All obvious, but all easy to forget when the pressure is on.
Share your views on training and talent management at the CIO UK survey
2) It’s a good time to get a good deal
The world changed dramatically in 2009, and many established partnerships within the IT community were fractured or even completely severed.
From a supplier’s perspective, this means they are having to think long and hard about how they compete, how they re-establish themselves with existing customers or attract new ones.
Therefore, as a buyer you can demand better value and also innovation in how you are supplied with products and services.
But use this for your long term advantage, rather than just taking a short term fix. The world will be challenging for a few years to come, so prioritise ideas which will lock in some value over time.
3) Make some bets on technologies
It is very easy in a difficult market to rest on your laurels and take a conservative standpoint. Continuing to cut costs and drive a tight ship will still be appreciated by your CFO and CEO for many months to come.
However, being able to adapt quickly to market changes, regulations, new competition etc. is what will really make the business value IT in the long term.
Take some time at the start of this year to think about the disruptive and innovative technologies which could break this year, and catapult your business ahead of its competition.
4) Spring clean
When I got back to work after the break and looked at the amount of non-value adding emails, lengthy weekly conference calls, reports that don’t get read until they’re out of date, I realised it was time for a spring clean of my ways of working.
Over the course of a year, this all tends to build up, and disciplines that we put in place at the start seem hard to spot amongst the morass of meeting requests.
So take a bit of time to go through your inbox and diary and think about how much of this really adds value, versus what keeps you from focussing on the really important issues or from spending time with your stakeholders.
And last but not least…
5) Bring some optimism back to work
Being gloomy about the outlook has been the standard way of operating for the last couple of years. And whilst 2010 won’t be the easiest year of any of our careers, we can choose our mood and start to look at the glass as half full from here on in.