As planning begins for the 2005 budget cycle, CIOs would do well to follow a few words of advice from Walt Disney, who once said to his management staff, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

Over the past few years, many CIOs have developed budgets based on a very different sentiment. Namely, “If you can measure it, you can do it.” Often, CIOs don’t have a lot of time in which to carry out their mandates. Typically, they have 90 days or less to evaluate measurement or ROI.

In five years, we have gone from ambitious and strategic IT projects to IT projects that focus on short-term results. CIOs of the late ’90s were (if anything) great dreamers. Granted, many of their IT dream projects turned into infrastructure nightmares, but let’s give them credit for thinking about the art of the possible. And let’s face it: Without taking risks, CIOs can forget about being strategic, influential leaders at their organizations.

The results of a recent CIO magazine Tech Poll suggest that the current focus on investing in short-term, nonstrategic IT projects is resulting in infrastructures that one CIO calls “brittle.”

So as you ramp up your 2005 budget process, follow Disney’s advice by dreaming about how IT can affect your business, transform your organization, and enable business growth while lowering costs.