IT too difficult to measure

Organizations are finding IT too difficult to measure, with only a minority of enterprises having formal mechanisms to measure the benefits of IT, according to a recent survey.

Conducted by Gartner at its recent application development integration and Web services summit, the survey reported only one in seven respondents had formally measured the contribution of IT to business, and nearly a third claimed they have no such process in place.

However, though measurement of business value isn't undertaken within most Australian organizations, business units still play a big part in setting the agenda for IT in the organization.

More than two-thirds of respondents said that business executives were responsible for prioritizing IT projects and only about 20 percent of respondents said IT was responsible in their organizations for prioritization of IT projects.

Despite the fact that management seems to be steering the boat, 59 percent of respondents felt that senior leadership in their organizations did not fully understand IT architecture issues. As for application integration within Australian organizations, 33 percent of respondents said their companies had no formal group for managing this area.

BaE Systems Australia IT manager Mathew Pearson belongs to one such company.

"We don't manage our application integration issues, we don't really need to, at least this particular business unit doesn't have a need, we're just not big enough," Pearson said.

The IT manager also admits in some cases having no formal mechanisms for measuring the benefits of IT.

"From a user perspective we definitely measure the benefits of IT for them, but from a hardware perspective we don't. What do you compare it against?" Pearson said.

At BaE systems, Pearson and his IT team are lucky enough to be able to set the IT agenda for their organization, also claiming that their executives have an understanding of architecture issues, but only to a point.

Unfortunately this isn't the case for the IT manager of a large engineering services company, who wished to be anonymous.

"For us management sets the agenda, but they do it in conjunction with IT," the IT manager said.

"I think they understand our architecture issues to varying degrees."

The IT manager wasn't surprised that many companies aren't making sincere efforts to measure the benefits of IT, claiming "it's such a difficult thing to quantify".

However, his organization is still having a go at it.

"We measure how IT is performing by dividing it up in terms of activities like response time and infrastructure availability," the IT manager said.

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