This week I’ve had some really interesting discussions around Nimbus, Cloud apps and investment. Some prompted by an interview about the recent book I have finished writing on Force.com. But also a couple of interviews with analysts asking some very searching questions of the benefits of Cloud Computing and IT investments.

So we started talking about OpEx and CapEx. But at Nimbus we also talk about StratEx.

There was OpEx (operational expenditure) which was perfect for funding your consulting and Cloud Computing services.  This was great as it is far easier to get than CapEx (capital expenditure).  Sadly, OpEx and CapEx have come under the axe. Budgets are being slashed based on the uncertainty of the future. ‘Cut harder and deeper than you feel is necessary’ is the mantra, “so you do it just once”.

But thrive rather than just survive should be the thinking.  In any market – bull or bear – there are always going to be winners. Question is,  are you going to be one of them?

That depends on how you support your clients, manage costs ( yeah, yeah, yawn 😯 ), but also how and where you invest (now it gets interesting…)

But how can you invest with budgets being cut away from underneath you.  That’s where a new budget category is emerging.  StratEx.   Strategic Expenditure. So no matter what else happens, these budgets are protected because they are ring-fenced for strategic investments. There are the projects which will secure your continued existence, and your dominance in the post-recessionary world.

As one of my Non-Execs  told me recently – “Ian, you need to have a short term plan to deliver your long term vision”.  Trite but true.

So what are your StratEx projects?  For us, IT is StratEx.

Delivering IT which allows our staff, no matter where they are in the world, to transform our business performance is StratEx.  Using Nimbus Control and Salesforce.com we have a Cloud-based platform which delivers insight, not just  information to our client and office-based teams around the world.

That means they can deliver a world-class performance because nothing less is expected by our world-class clients.

Which is why IT investment is just that – investment – not just a necessary cost.  But the great news is that technology is getting cheaper and easier to buy.

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