IT leaders looking to make the IT of the future happen at their organizations will first have to survive until the future gets here.
In other words, the "old IT" -- IT as we now know it -- is about to become very important.
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And for anyone thinking of skipping ahead, know that the "new IT" -- the IT that says "here's how" rather than "no," that encourages end-user innovation rather than stifles it, and that builds technology to support practices as well as processes -- isn't simply a replacement. It is something IT leaders will have to take hold of in addition to the old IT.
As I write these words, most economic indicators aren't looking too promising, and that's the good news. If the debt ceiling hadn't been raised, depending on which economist you prefer, the forecasts ranged from even worse to so bad you don't want to think about it. If you haven't pulled out your TECAP and made sure it's up to date, you could very well be hosed.
For those thinking of searching Google, don't bother. TECAP stands for "The Economy Crashed Again Plan" and I just made it up. Unless and until our economy stabilizes, your TECAP is arguably more important than your business continuity plan. After all, when the only thing you can count on is varying degrees of recession showing up on a regular basis as a way of life, you might as well know how you're going to handle them when they do.
If you haven't given thought to your TECAP, here are the key principles to keep in mind.
IT survival tip No. 1: Leadership teamwork
One thing that matters in a good economy but is the difference between surviving and sinking in a bad one is whether your leadership "team" is a leadership team -- whether the managers in your organization trust one another and share a common commitment to the organization's purpose and direction.
This trust is difficult to quantify, but its importance becomes readily apparent when we move to the next IT survival tip.
IT survival tip No. 2: Worst things first
Like it or not, when the economy sinks you will lay off staff. If you don't know who it's going to be before you have to do it, the result will be an exercise in spreading the pain equally instead of doing what's necessary. You need your leadership team in consensus on this part of the plan.