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January 2009 Quick Hits - News, Trends & Analysis

 
Will Patriotism Impact Offshoring?

As Mark Hillary from the National Outsourcing Association mentioned in a interview with Silicon.Com, companies are increasingly focused on protecting their reputation. The economic downturn is likely to see UK businesses look closer to home when outsourcing technology or business operations this year. They may want to use UK-based companies, lest they be seen as "unpatriotic" or contributing to the UK's growing unemployment numbers. The reality is that businesses need to also think about survival, and longer term competitiveness. UK businesses do not exist in a protected bubble, and if their costs rise on the back of moving non-core work onshore, they will be susceptible to overseas competition in their own industries.

UK Green IT... Any Chance In 2009

2008 was a year where we saw oil prices go from $147 to $35 per barrel. The economy slipped further into recession as each day went by, and there are concerns that Green IT will have a lower priority to cost-cutting and survival in 2009. It is a real loss, as Green IT had finally moved up the agenda. Data centres were starting to increase green credentials, and IT Directors were investing in more efficient hardware. Yet, with the latest development, it is very likely that many initiatives will be cancelled. However, any programme linked to cost saving should thrive in this market, and many Green IT projects result in cost savings, by using less energy and generating less waste. Additionally, cheaper working arrangements, such has hot-desking and working from home, should result in energy savings. So while the credit crunch may lead to the shelving of discretionary green projects, there should still be a very positive incidental impact on Green IT.

What Happens When A CEO Becomes The Embodiment Of A Company?

People like Michael Dell, Richard Branson & Stelios have become brand-name bosses who contribute a lot to their organisations in marketing terms, humanising the products and services they represent. However, as we saw recently, when rumours started spreading about the health of Steve Jobs, Apple shares dove from $105 to $90 in days, wiping off billions of dollars of shareholder wealth. The news stories and blogs that were discussing Jobs' health suggests that executive fame can be positive, but also a clear risk that needs to be managed. When Jack Welch stepped down in 2001, GE stock took a hit as the great oracle of the business for 20 years was no longer at the rudder... and the GE stock never quite recovered. It seems that many companies with strong CEO's could learn a lesson or two from how Microsoft handled the departure of Bill Gates. Its about promoting other leadership team members. With Microsoft, one can think of 2 or 3 names of people (Steve Ballmer, Ray Ozzie), but with Apple its all about Steve Jobs. A company must ensure that the executive brand does not exceed that of the company they represent.  
 

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