Survey: Tech leaders high on IT effectiveness

Findings reveal a chasm between the perceptions of CEOs and technology leaders on IT's effectiveness

IT executives think highly of their ability to deliver effective IT strategies. In fact, technology leaders value their strategic contributions quite a bit higher than their business counterparts do, according to a survey by Saugatuck Technology.

The research firm last week released the results of its December 2006 survey of about 340 C-Level executives and 240 CIOs and senior IT executives at companies with greater than US$1 billion in revenue. The survey was conducted in partnership with BusinessWeek Research Services. Survey findings reveal a chasm between what CEOs and those in similar positions think of IT's effectiveness as compared with what technology leaders perceive.

"The unsettling conclusion from this is that while everyone seems to agree on IT strategy priorities at a strategic level, there is still quite a bit of room for improvement at the tactical level," the firm wrote in a research alert. "This tactical dysfunction between IT and business executives serves as a tremendous indicator as to why we consistently see gaps between the real and perceived value of IT to the enterprise."

The disconnect between the two camps is most obvious among IT initiatives that focus on business process outsourcing (BPO), database consolidation, and server consolidation and virtualization, the survey found. About 70 percent of IT executives said BPO strategies were effective, while 42 percent of business leaders agreed. Close to 80 percent of CIOs said database consolidation efforts were paying off, but just 53 percent of CEOs indicated that they felt the same. And about three-fourths of technology heads reported server consolidation and virtualization strategies as effective, yet just 55 percent of business chiefs agreed with that stance.

Other areas that business and IT leaders didn't agree upon include business-intelligence and performance-management initiatives, which saw a 19 percent difference in effectiveness ratings, and application consolidation efforts in which effectiveness ratings varied by 17 percent.

The results could indicate tough times ahead for technology chiefs selling IT projects to business leaders, Saugatuck Technology says.

"If business executives, especially CFOs, don't see enough IT investments as effective, they will continue to seek control -- and in some cases even micro-manage -- IT spending," the firm writes. "This implies not only continued IT budget restrictions, but also a continuation of project-based IT investment."

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