In recent months, analysts have observed that many organisations are reporting that their staffs are working at near- or full-capacity levels. This demand level will almost certainly increase when businesses start detecting resurgence in demand from customers, a more stabilised economic climate and a far-healthier lending environment from which to access credit.
As these improvements translate into new IT project demands to help businesses identify new revenue and profit opportunities, companies will need a way to manage the already high project load with a new wave of projects. However, waiting until that new demand arrives will be far too late to appropriately meet it.
Hubert Wentzel, EOH divisional director: technology consulting and enterprise solutions crafting, believes that companies should identify emerging opportunities and prepare for the inevitable economic recovery now.
“Due to the lag in time between the point at which the economy begins to grow again, and when its officially declared to be growing again, companies simply can't wait for an official declaration before they begin planning for better times," he says. “If companies wind down and do the bare minimum, they will be lagging behind their competitors when the economy improves."
Wentzel says the business world is now in a "wait and see" mode – but companies can't do this forever. “While still exercising the necessary caution and ensuring the next move fits in with your overall objectives, it may be wise for CIOs to explore new opportunities and technologies, such as managed services, annuity services, and the Software as a Service (SaaS) model. These can be a saving grace in difficult times when capital projects are often put on hold,” he says.
It makes sense for early adopters of technology to partner with a managed services provider, Wentzel adds. Typically, SaaS models are available for trials and businesses can, for example, take advantage of early adopter programmes, which are usually offered in the spirit of partnership.
“Basically, technology is becoming more complex and expensive. The economic reality of managing the complexity may compel us to seek and nurture symbiotic relationships with managed service providers for long-term success.
"All of the above is offering the same basket of services but in an annuity model as opposed to the traditional CAPEX sense, hence flattening the inter-project-gap challenges that services organisations face while affording their clients an OPEX rather than CAPEX support and project deployment model. The services organisation does incur some up-front risk as the three-year ROI cannot be guaranteed, but this can be off-set in the better resource utilisation over the extended contract period."