"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Charles Dickens' opening words in A Tale Of Two Cities encapsulate the last few years in a nutshell.
Most corporate executives, including those in IT, can easily relate to the second half of that phrase. The last few years have brought forth some of the most demanding economic conditions we've seen in years. Companies have had to make difficult decisions in terms of staffing and resource allocation. They've had to do more with less--fewer people, fewer resources, fewer projects. In most organizations, IT spending was impacted to a greater degree than other areas, correcting overspending from the dot-com bubble and preparations for Y2K. Complex market shifts also necessitated a different approach to business, one in which companies needed to realign their business to meet changing needs in different geographic areas.
In light of all this, you're probably wondering how I might think it was also the best of times for IT. Simply put, technology has come of age. Starting in the mid 1990s, IT spending could be directly linked to overall productivity in gross domestic product and its impact could actually be measured. Today, we're able to position technology as an effective tool for both productivity and growth. Clearly, this has been our experience at Dow as we continue to realize latent benefits associated with early investments, such as our global enterprise-resource-planning system. By using available tools and processes to help our company streamline operations and adapt to changing business conditions, we've come to the realization that if we reduce variability and standardize our systems and their use, we can leverage what's already in place.
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