As concerns about recession grew in late 2022 and early this year, the phrase you started hearing a lot was, "Do more with less." Most of the enterprise IT folks I talked to during that time responded to that mantra with some variation of, "What else is new?"
Spending every penny wisely, and constantly seeking out an efficiency edge are standard operating procedures for IT. The challenge is twofold: How does IT keep its own house in order, finding new ways to do the same things for less money? And how do you make the big technology decisions about strategic priorities that span the business and likely involve multiple stakeholders?
"Make the big technology decisions" is probably even something of a misnomer; "drive" or "spearhead" the big technology decisions may be more like it. For example, at last year's Enterprise Connect, analyst Sheila McGee-Smith led a general session entitled, "Who Should be Making Contact Center Decisions in 2022? IT? Customer Service? Marketing?" The upshot was that all of those stakeholders had to be involved, and in some cases the decisions would go up to the CEO or board level.
On No Jitter last week, consultant Rob Hilsen had a perceptive and helpful article, The Secret to Digital Success Is Savvier Tech Buying, where he provides some great examples of how the more collaborative approach to technology buying has become the most effective way to ensure that enterprises are making the right investments. "Bringing in more voices to the discussions-- whether that be third-party entities or other executives within the business--is one of the only surefire ways to avoid getting stuck with bad software," Hilsen concludes.
As you'd expect in a time of economic uncertainty, we'll be looking at the buying process and the current state of IT/communications spending as part of the Enterprise Connect 2023 program. I expect this to be one of the underlying themes for many of our general sessions, both with vendors and enterprise decision-makers. We've also got a breakout session, led by consultant Linda Barnes, dedicated to the topic.
Barnes' session is titled Taming I.T. Costs to Fund Strategic Projects, and I'm looking forward to her addressing both the tactical and strategic aspects of the current climate for investments in enterprise communications technology. As her session abstract notes, "Once we've eliminated wasted spend, we can focus on funding projects that'll be welcomed as critical to the company's success, making IT/communications less of a 'commodity' to the organization, and more of a valued asset... You'll come away with specific areas to look for savings, and ways to translate this into strategic positioning for IT/communications."
That's critical because IT/communications is strategically positioned in the era of hybrid work. Pre-pandemic, the discussion was often about explaining to end users what the new communications technologies could do for them. Now, it's about listening to what end users need, and knowing how the current-and impending-generation of tools can meet those requirements.
And often, while those tools can meet the requirements, users don't necessarily know whether or how to make this happen. That's why I encourage you to read this No Jitter post by Melissa Swartz of Swartz Consulting, where she describes the urgent need for user adoption programs for communications technologies in many enterprises. Melissa will also be presenting a session on this topic at Enterprise Connect 2023.
There's so much exciting technology these days-from ChatGPT to improvements in video to contact center innovations-that we're sometimes prone to overlook the fact that none of the technology matters if you can't build a business case for it, constantly improve the cost and effectiveness of how you deliver it, and-most importantly-get end users to embrace it. At Enterprise Connect 2023 the week of March 27 in Orlando, we'll engage on these critical topics, and I'm sure much of the networking and informal discussions will touch on it as well. I hope we see you there!