by Gary Beach

IT, E-Business Emerge from Fiscal Fog

May 15, 20012 mins
IT Leadership

A fog is spreading all over the country. It is not your typical meteorological fog, however. This one is not contained to one geographic region, and no sunny forecast nor predictions of gusty winds appear to be changing the gloomy outlook anytime soon.

American business leaders and Wall Street gurus, who just a year ago unabashedly heralded the benefits of improved productivity made possible by IT, seem to be managing their companies and their portfolios in a fiscal fog.

Granted, IT budgets have become a major investment line, and top management hit IT leaders’ budgets hard in the first quarter. But stock market sell-offs, particularly among the tech-laden Nasdaq, seem predicated on the fact that CIOs’ budgets have been cut forever.

They are not.

Here’s the proof. According to CIO’s research, 18,072 CIO subscribers in February 2000 claimed that 25 percent or more of their company’s annual revenues were attributed to e-commerce transactions. In a follow-up survey completed in April 2001, that number rose to 30,038?an astonishing 67.9 percent increase.

Earth to Wall Street gurus: The IT budgets and e-business priorities of CIOs are alive and well. Stop acting and trading like IT initiatives have been sent to the digital dustbin of never-to-be-implemented corporate initiatives.

It’s only a matter of time before CIOs and their IT departments get the funding green light. The trick right now for CIOs, however, is to build sales and market share for their organizations before that new funding era. And not play spending catch-up later on.

I’m no meteorologist, but fog sometimes lifts when a strong wind blows in. My forecast calls for the winds of reason to start blowing. And soon. I believe the fog will lift and smart CIOs will again invest aggressively in technology tools to help their businesses create models that solve real customer problems.

What do you think? Is the fog lifting at your company and in your industry? Drop me a note.