IT 'highly valued' but still not major innovator

Eighty-seven per cent of senior executives believe that information technology (IT) is important to their organisation, according to a global survey commissioned by the US-based IT Governance Institute (ITGI) – but more than half do not feel that IT is an important contributor to innovation, underlining an opportunity for IT to increase its strategic value.

Nearly 50 per cent of all organisations do not measure the value they are achieving from IT. More than 250 non-IT executives in 22 countries were interviewed by PricewaterhouseCoopers to determine their views on IT’s contribution to the business, and how their enterprises are governing their IT.

The ITGI study suggests that 59 per cent ‘do not view IT’s contribution to innovation as important or very important’, although a majority recognise IT as a major contributor in its traditional strongholds: efficiency and effectiveness. Only 33 per cent of enterprises rely on their IT department to provide information about potential business opportunities enabled by new technologies.

“Given the current economic climate, enterprises should strengthen their governance of IT to ensure that their expenditures are delivering real value, reduce or curtail those that aren’t,” said John Thorp, member of ITGI’s IT Governance Committee, “and pursue innovative uses of IT that can sustain and increase value.”

Respondents also reported that the organisation’s culture, plus a lack of the right skill base, is among the top barriers to achieving value.

“Fortunately, these executives have the power to reduce both of these barriers,” said Robert Stroud, international vice president of ITGI and vice president of service management and governance at CA Inc. “In their position, they can ensure that training is provided to employees, and they can set the tone at the top to result in a culture change.”
ITGI also found that executives ‘do not believe that IT managers are communicating new opportunities to the business’ — this finding was in contrast to a 2008 study of IT managers, who reported that they provide the business with frequent information. A solution, according to ITGI, is to include the chief information officer (CIO) on the executive team — 40 per cent of respondents do not currently do this or do not have a CIO.

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