More than 40 per cent of CIOs do not believe their departments deliver 'great' IT, and 44 per cent still have no say in strategic decision making, according to a recent report. The results of the research make a direct correlation between involving IT directors in strategic decision-making, and how effective IT directors perceive their departments to be. The research, commissioned by business management solutions company Touchpaper, was conducted on CIOs and IT directors in the UK private and public sectors.
Graham Ridgway, CEO of Touchpaper, commented: "The IT department should be at the heart of any forward-thinking organization, not merely there to maintain existing systems. Many CIOs are frustrated by their lack of a real voice in the corporate decision making process, but often this is because they have been unwilling to embrace modern service management processes and technologies."
Nearly 75 per cent of CIOs questioned for the survey defined 'great' IT as being able to add real value to their organization's strategy and bottom line. They also said strong leadership and IT skills, the right systems and processes, the ability to think and plan strategically, and the ability to deliver basic service levels were essential to move IT from merely 'good' to 'great'.
Around half of CIOs believe that a lack of engagement with departments outside of IT is hampering effective IT delivery, and the same number believe that having solutions in place to deal with day-to-day operations would help improve IT's bottom line effectiveness.
Some IT directors still seem to be struggling to measure and report their successes, according to Ridgway, which makes it harder for them to sell IT achievements at Board level. "Even now IT is still just a back office cost for some of these companies," said Ridgway. "That is the starting point for them. But IT is part of any business change, and has got to be able to be closely involved. There is a real connection between better performance and IT savvy companies."
The research found that 42 per cent of CIOs are not involved in the decision-making process for large scale change until the implementation stage or later, reinforcing the perception of that CIOs have a day-to-day tactical role, rather than a strategic one. IT directors questioned in the survey believe that IT's lack of involvement at the early stages of an enterprise wide change increases the time taken to implement that change -- 45 per cent, and makes for a less efficient organizational change process -- 43 per cent.
However, the results did show a great difference between vertical market sectors. Those industries where IT is core to the business are far more likely to have Board level representation. Financial services has most Board level influence - 72 per cent, followed by manufacturing and retail -- 56 per cent, while the Public Sector has least with 38 per cent. Of those IT Directors with no Board level representation, 78 per cent believe it directly impacts their ability to provide 'great' IT.
The Public Sector is one of the most vibrant vertical markets for IT because it has strong change drivers and projects that have to be completed, but it is also one of the most difficult market sectors for IT Directors to work in, according to Andy Hughes managing director global support services at Morse, one of Touchpaper's customers. "High level representation is difficult because of the way in which Councils and Ministries are structured, and because of the constantly moving goals," said Hughes. "The public sector is unable to buy value because of its flawed processes, and the Government has no clear picture about what it wants to achieve, and who its real customers are."
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