Getting ROI after low-hanging fruit is gone

It began with author Nicholas Carr's controversial book, Does IT Matter?, and is continuing with the release of a new book by Microsoft VP Bob McDowell which encourages IT managers to get cosy with the CEO.

While McDowell disagrees with many of Carr's conclusions, he says the author created debate by putting IT under the spotlight.

He said Carr got it right in some areas, agreeing the days of the "low-hanging fruit" are definitely over.

Aimed squarely at IT professionals as a guide to help extract maximum value out of the technology dollar, the book is titled, In Search of Business Value - Ensuring a Return on your Technology Investment.

"I also think there is no value in technology by itself anymore, and I think Carr missed that point; it's what's between the ears of the people that use and run IT that matters," McDowell said.

"In a way, Carr has done IT a service; he's written something that business people are reading and has created a discussion that we can engage in," McDowell said.

And McDowell's advice on how to demonstrate business value?

"From what I've seen, buyers are moving towards fewer suppliers, not more, and a higher level of intimacy with those suppliers so that they can know their business needs," McDowell said.

And don't annoy the CEO - IT managers need them now more than ever.

"IT managers need CEOs more now, not less, basically because IT is impacting more on the value of the business than ever before," McDowell said.

But with all this business value talk, don't mistake Microsoft for your new best friend.

"At the end of the day the end game is still the same, we still have to get licences sold," McDowell said.

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