Qld public sector poll shows IS planning cycles shrinking

The first large survey of Queensland IS user organisations shows networks, staff training and customer-oriented applications top their spending plans.

The poll also revealed telecomms purchasing arrangements are reaching new levels of volatility among public sector organisations and medium to large companies.

And it uncovered a dramatic shortening of IS strategic planning and review cycles.

The survey found the major areas of significantly increased communications investment in Queensland over the next 12 months will be LAN/WAN infrastructure (27 per cent), voice networks (27 per cent) and staff training (23 per cent).

On the applications side, customer relationship management programs dominate customer retention plans and market growth strategies.

Some 41 per cent of respondents said they are establishing CRM programs to improve customer satisfaction while a further 32 per cent were doing it to promote market share.

More than half the respondents were optimistic about the outlook for CRM over the next four years.

The survey of CIOs and IS managers in the public sector and medium to large companies took seven months. It was conducted by management consultancies Red Phoenix Group and Gibson Quai with help from the Open Learning Institute of TAFE.

Peter de Haas, Gibson Quai Queensland director, said the poll was the first major attempt to focus on Queensland IS user organisations as distinct from IS suppliers. About 150 organisations were approached of which 15 per cent cooperated with the survey.

The results revealed high levels of activity in reviewing and testing the market for communications services for availability, mix and cost.

Nearly 70 per cent said they have contracts with an increasing number of comms suppliers. Of those, 36 per cent reported two suppliers and 27 per cent had three or more.

More than half said they are now testing the market for competitive comms services on an annual basis.

The report, which will be released later this month, suggests a disconnect is taking place between voice-data convergence trends and management mechanisms, he said.

"Responsibility for dealing with LAN and WAN is usually quite centralised in IT departments. But voice management responsibilities are decentralised into business units.

"It means management mechanisms are not keeping pace as the technology moves to higher levels of convergence."

The report reinforces the view that strategic planning and review cycles are shrinking, de Haas said.

Instead of creating strategic plans with three-year time horizons, "now there is almost a process of continual refreshment because the environment is changing so rapidly".

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