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Why Now Is The Right Time To Reinitiate Halted IT Projects

In the pandemic’s wake and economic uncertainty of recent years, numerous organizations opted to defer their IT initiatives. While such caution was understandable, at least for a while, be advised that such long-term hesitation can impede growth and undermine market competitiveness, creating new and equally significant risks for today’s businesses.  

The numbers support this theory. Market research firm Gartner expects IT spending to reach $5 trillion worldwide in 2024—a substantial jump (nearly double) of 6.8 percent from the previous year, meaning more businesses are reawakening and recalibrating.  

In simplest terms, organizations that continue to “wait things out” may find themselves being outpaced.  

 

Determining Which Projects Get The Green Light 

Even when organizations decide to release the parking brake on IT spending, which initiatives go along for the ride and which remain still waiting?  

While there are numerous factors to consider, one key determinant should be the project’s real measurable value. This means choosing projects in close alignment with the organization’s business objectives and that directly contribute to its bottom line through increased revenue, cost savings, improved efficiency, or enhanced customer satisfaction.  

 Such value can be quantified and tracked, offering clear insights into the impact of IT investments on business outcomes, and helping to justify additional expenditures. 

 

3 High-Priority Project Categories  

While these are by no means all-encompassing, our own experience with clients indicates that high-priority IT projects typically fall into one of these three categories: 

 

  • Emerging Technologies. These are new and rapidly evolving technologies with the potential to impact society, the economy, and multiple industry sectors. While on the brink of becoming mainstream, they’re often still in the developmental or early-adoption stages, making them ripe for exploration, with successful innovators gaining significant competitive advantage.  

 

Examples of these technologies include Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP), blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT), and virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR). Not only do these new technologies offer competitive advantages, they also enhance an organization’s reputation as being at the head of the pack in technological innovation.  

 

  • Risk Management. Such technologies are implemented to protect organizations from blame, liability, or negative consequences in the event of problems or failures. It extends to documentation and compliance tools, backup and recovery systems, monitoring, and data privacy and cybersecurity. With regard to the latter, cybersecurity concerns continue to be at an all-time high across all industry sectors, with the estimated worldwide cost of such criminal activity at $8 trillion in 2023—or $250,000 per second 

 

  • Operational Efficiencies. The 2023 State of the CIO Survey placed increasing operational efficiency at the top of the list of initiatives driving IT spending at 45 percent (followed closely by cybersecurity protection at 44 percent). The broadest of the three categories, operational efficiency projects typically encompass initiatives aimed at streamlining processes and reducing costs. Oftentimes, they involve the implementation of automation tools to eliminate manual tasks and improve the speed and accuracy of operations.  

 

As just one prime example within this realm, cloud computing projects are a key initiative for many organizations in that they enable them to scale resources dynamically, reducing the need for on-premises hardware and associated costs.  

 

As Technologies Evolve, So Must IT Skills 

When re-embarking on IT initiatives, it’s imperative to also reassess the proficiency levels of your internal IT teams, especially if training and hiring were placed on hold over the past several years. Technology advancements occur at a blindingly-fast pace, quickly rendering skills obsolete.  

Many organizations are also enlisting the expertise of IT consultants specializing in mission-critical areas such as cloud migration and cybersecurity, as well as emerging technologies like AI and NLP. Post-pandemic, such highly skilled professionals are often opting for consultancy over traditional employment. 

 In fact, maintaining full-time staff for certain specialized technologies may not be prudent, especially as many organizations are just now cautiously readdressing IT prioritization. Leveraging readily available, highly qualified IT consultants on an as-needed basis enables swift scalability without the permanent overhead of full-time talent.  

 

From On-Hold to “Wagons Ho” 

The imperative to revive stalled IT initiatives is not just advantageous, but necessary. To be certain, lessons learned from the challenges of the past several years underscore the critical role technology plays in ensuring our resilience, adaptability, and ability to keep moving forward.  

If you haven’t begun already, now is the time to not only start recovering lost ground but to again set out on a course toward your organization’s technological and digital transformation.  

 

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