The Takeaway: Are IT shops getting a bad rap?

The Takeaway: Are IT shops getting a bad rap?

Despite the reputation of IT shops as naysayers, a recent survey by CompTIA indicates that IT departments may be getting a bad rap.

It's no surprise that IT departments have something of a reputation as naysayers when corporate users come calling with tech requests.

But a recent survey by CompTIA strongly indicates that most business users are actually pretty happy with their IT departments: Fully eight in 10 see their relationship with IT as either positive or, at worst, neutral.

"Business units tend to view IT as a valuable partner rather than a hindrance," according to CompTIA, which found that 52% of business managers reported having a "good relationship" with IT. The survey collected data online from 275 business professionals and 375 technology professionals. CompTIA also conducted interviews for more depth on respondents' views.

Here's more detail on what the industry group asked, and what it learned:

  • Those surveyed were asked to assess the relationship of between business managers and IT, with possible answers including holding IT shops in the "highest regard" and a more neutral view of IT as something that "plays a critical support role" in the corporate world. Though just half of respondents hold IT in the highest regard, that was still "the top statement that people agreed to," said Seth Robinson, senior director of technology analysis at CompTIA. "There's room for improvement, but it is nice to see that this is the prevailing sentiment."
  • Rogue IT operations may actually be helping to spur collaboration with business, and working with IT is seen as a way to avoid the security and integration problems associated with going around IT departments. "Business units show a clear preference for IT taking the lead on security issues," said the CompTIA study.
  • While security, cloud architecture and virtualization skills were seen as the top skills respondents wanted from their IT shops, CompTIA also found that business skills and "soft" skills ranked highly; 39% cited a need for analytical skills, innovation, problem-solving and flexibility.

Forrester analyst Gene Leganza said the need for security has helped improve the relationship between business workers and IT. "People recognize that security is important and IT is the place go," he said. Leganza also speculated that rogue IT projects have led to a "democratization" of technology issues that makes it easier for real collaboration between tech support and business.

"Things are more positive than they were five, 10 years ago," Leganza said.

With reports from Patrick Thibodeau at Computerworld.

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