EXECUTIVE COUNSEL - Execs Try to Align Business, IT Priorities

EXECUTIVE COUNSEL - Execs Try to Align Business, IT Priorities

The greatest challenge confronting chief information officers throughout the world is to assure that the priorities of their information technology organisations are in line with the business strategies, according to a survey of almost 600 IT executives from around the world.

Segundo, California-based Computer Sciences Corp.'s, 11th annual Critical Issues of Information Systems Management study shows that CIOs worldwide are frustrated at the slow pace of getting their IT corporate resource aligned with the business strategies of their companies. The study reveals that 72 percent of the 594 information technology executives polled ranked aligning IT and corporate goals as their top concern. This is the fourth consecutive year the alignment of corporations' business strategies and IT priorities was rated as the top challenge.

These concerns are shared by information technology executives in North America, Europe and Asia/Pacific almost equally, according to CSC.

The study also shows that most IT executives around the world are concerned about the lack of their department's contribution to the effectiveness of their companies. Almost 66 per cent of respondents felt the users of technology within their companies would rate the overall effectiveness of information systems only as average or acceptable, rather than good to excellent.

Other survey findings include:

-- The budgets of more than half of IT departments surveyed throughout the world have increased. Yet, according to executives, in year-to-year comparisons, the IT budgets increased 6 percent in 1997 and only 6.2 percent in 1998.

-- More companies than ever before are outsourcing data-intensive activities and infrastructure as ways to reduce costs while acquiring new skills in key areas such as ERP. Some 78 percent of North American respondents have outsourced and almost 20 per cent plan to do more.

-- Sixteen percent of respondents reported that they have already deployed Y2K solutions. On a regional basis, 21 percent of North American organisations indicated they have deployed Y2K solutions; 16 percent of the European respondents have solutions in place; and only 12 percent of firms in Asia/Pacific are ready for the new millennium. Another 63 percent of the respondents are at various stages of addressing the issue. The remaining 21 percent of organisations surveyed are only now assessing the Y2K problem.

-- In terms of budget allocations to address Y2K, North American companies will outspend their counterparts in Europe and Asia/Pacific. North American organisations will have spent more than US$16.5 million each, compared to just under US$13 million by European firms and a similar amount by those in the Asia/Pacific region.

Survey respondents included chief information officers and vice-presidents and directors of technology for companies in 11 different areas such as financial services, healthcare, consumer goods, retail, chemicals, energy and government.

Of the total respondents, 36 percent represented North America organisations, 16 percent were from European companies while 48 percent were from companies in the Asia/Pacific region.

Top 10 Information Technology Issues Worldwide 1. Aligning IT and corporate goals 2. Organising and utilising data 3. Connecting to customers, suppliers and/or partners electronically 4. Integrating systems 5. Cutting IS costs 6. Instituting cross-functional information systems 7. Capitalising on advances in IT 8. Updating obsolete systems 9. Creating an information architecture 10. Improving IT human resources (SOURCE: 1998 Critical issues of information Systems Management, Computer Sciences Corporation )

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