The charmed ones

The charmed ones

Enterprises view centralised IT as the most “business-friendly” structure, reports Forrester, which surveyed 1377 technology decision-makers at North American and European enterprises.

The analyst firm says one would expect enterprises with decentralised IT to be the most satisfied because their IT staff work for business units. However, the survey reveals the opposite. Only 39 per cent of firms with decentralised IT, agree IT is responsive to business unit needs, while 18 per cent of the decentralised IT groups feel overtaxed by business unit requests. In contrast, 53 per cent of enterprises with centralised IT shops describe IT as responsive to business needs. And, while getting top marks for responsiveness, centralised IT groups are also least likely to view their business units as too demanding.

North America

Marketing challenges

Technology is critical to today’s marketers, as they strive to integrate vast sources of data, present targeted messages to customers, and increase the measurability of marketing. But, according to Forrester, in many companies, IT and marketing have a dysfunctional relationship.

Forrester recently conduct-ed an online survey of 102 senior marketing executives and interviewed both IT and marketing executives. More than half of marketers see IT as having little understanding of how technology can support their efforts.

The marketers feel IT doesn’t treat their department as “mission critical”. Only 30 per cent of respondents report their relationship with IT is based on strong processes with ongoing communication and coordination. Yet, Forrester points out, there is an urgent need for technology to boost marketing efforts as the effectiveness of traditional tactics decline. Based on its recent survey, Forrester says firms with the most productive marketing and IT partnerships share common characteristics.

These include having dedicated IT support for the marketing group. Marketing groups also benefit from creating a services (or operations) team to execute tech-heavy ad hoc requests for data and custom reports – tasks that otherwise would fall to IT. This team also becomes the business link to IT.

Forrester finds barriers also come down when a cross functional team makes the technology decisions. In companies where IT is the lead decision maker, the respondents cite difficulty working with IT and unfamiliarity with technology or service providers as major issues.

The marketers say the level of understanding between marketing and IT improves when there is a chief marketing officer sitting at the executive table alongside the CIO, the CFO and the CEO.


Remote concerns

Managing mobile staff is fast becoming a major concern for IT departments in networked enterprises – and not only in large companies.

A recent survey by WatchGuard among its customers, reveals 40 per cent of IT/network managers in small and medium enterprises (those with fewer than 1000 employees), spend more than five hours a week managing remote sites. Nearly a quarter spend more than 10 hours a week. Eleven per cent say they have no security in place for remote staff, or simply don’t allow users to connect. On managing security at remote offices, 13 per cent say they travel to the site to do the work themselves and 11 per cent phone a person at each site.

Interestingly, 41 per cent of respondents see upper management (with 16 per cent citing the CEO and 25 per cent citing other executives) as the “biggest security challenge”. “The higher up the food chain, the worse they are!!!” says one respondent, while another observes, “They don’t have time to listen to what compromises security. It’s all go-go-go.”

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