The new IT

Industry analysts frequently lament the lack of alignment between IT and the business. But there is growing evidence that business leaders are no longer prepared to put up with this fissure.

According to the researchers at the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU), globalisation and increasing competition in markets worldwide is driving senior managers to demand a closer alignment of IT to business goals. The research indicates that 69% of senior IT and business executives expect the primary role of IT, traditionally cost efficiency, to be elevated to that of enabling revenue growth, within three years.

This expectation is most strongly held among CEOs and board members, 83% of whom are “wholly convinced” of this shift. But IT mangers have, apparently, yet to pick up on this game-changing trend: there is an “expectation gap”, with only 62% of IT directors sharing their CEO’s convictions.

According to the report by the EUI, which examined practices globally, there is widespread belief that there is fissure between the business and IT. Many CEOs and board members believe the problem is organisational; IT managers are inclined to blame a poor understanding of IT’s capacity to support business objectives among senior management.

The driving force behind this shift in priorities is shareholder pressure, the EIU reports. But the focus on justifying IT expenditure, combined with a growing understanding of IT at senior levels, is leading to the reappraisal of IT’s role, as the potential to use IT to improve revenue generation is recognised.

But whether CIOs are ready for this change remains to be seen. Many are already overburdened with large-scale projects, and managing boardroom ex-pectations will become a key priority for the CIO, the report’s authors conclude.

The perennial problem of insufficient communication between the IT and business sides also remains an issue, suggesting the nirvana of IT-business harmony may require more than three years to realise.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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