I didn’t say that. Gartner analyst Steve Prentice said it yesterday in his keynote address at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in San Francisco. My colleague Larry Dignan at ZDNet has the story and Computerworld also has a round-up.

“This industry is in danger of becoming one of failure,” said Prentice. “We’ve come to accept mediocrity as the norm. It’s not a lack of technology or skills. The problem comes down to a lack of vision.”

Ouch. That’s a serious indictment of IT leaders.

Let’s be honest, though. Steve Prentice has an ax to grind. He wants IT executives to think they are in big trouble so that they will spend more money on Gartner consulting services to help save the day. (I could argue that Gartner services are mediocre and lack the right kind of vision, but that’s another issue for another day). 

Still, I think there is a grain of truth to what Prentice is saying. In speaking with IT pros and dealing with people in the industry, the general feeling that I get is that IT departments are not driving the same pace of innovation and productivity gains that they were 5-10 years ago. There are a lot of reasons for that, including leaner staffing, smaller budgets, a lower corporate profile in many organizations, and having achieved so many efficiencies in the past that there simply isn’t any more low-hanging fruit on the trees of corporate productivity. Nevertheless, IT seems to be treading water in many organizations.

Do you agree? Why or why not? If you do agree, what do you think are the causes? Join the discussion.