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Companies crawling out of spending caps and recessionary thinking have a lot of work to do to prepare as a growth economy re-emerges, according to Gartner Inc. And, the big-name analyst firm is handing out tips for driving innovation in information infrastructure for those ready to harness the power and renewed opportunity of the coming economic growth spurt.

According to the firm, IT organizations that take a tactical approach to IT instead of a strategic look at managing information and driving innovation will not be able to reap the real and cost-effective benefits of information infrastructure. The firm has identified a set of key “innovation forces” that can be tapped and exploited to mitigate challenges associated with managing information.

"These innovation forces provide significant changes in the way that information management technologies and competencies will be focused and delivered, with the goal of radically improving the cost-effectiveness, agility and transparency with which information assets are managed and leveraged," said Ted Friedman, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

Here are the four Innovation Forces Gartner identified:

  • The information-centric organization. Instead of focusing on “technology” per se, CIOs and IT pros need to stop thinking in terms of tactical implementations and eye strategic moves that will focus on driving value out of the information itself. To that end, Gartner says CIOs, IT leaders and HR managers need to understand and hire people that can help make the organization more information-centric.
  • Information as an asset or liability. With all the information a business needs and currently stores, the key to driving innovation is to tap into the information to drive value and costs savings—and that does not always mean implementing more technology. Again, CIOs need to get out of the traditional mindset around technology as the only problem solver and focus on the business value for the information systems by setting strategies and techniques that assess value and the risk of information assets.
  • Adaptive information infrastructure. Figuring out the meaning and the symbiotic relationships of all information to draw conclusions and drive value will be essential to success. Gartner says adaptive information infrastructure and its supporting technologies can help companies deliver information in a consumable manner that leads to productivity, optimization and enterprise agility.
  • Alternative delivery models for information infrastructure. Not being frightened of creative and new delivery models like SaaS, different appliances and cloud computing will help tighten cost structures over the long-term while requiring little up-front investment. Benefits to creative delivery models are many, including the ability to implement quickly and see a massive impact right off-the-bat.