Warning that technology has become too complex to manage and integrate, IBM Global Services VP Doug Elix today called on industry to stop focusing on unleashing the power of IT and look at "unleashing the enterprise".
Outlining an 'agenda for action' to refocus on the enterprise at the World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT 2002) in Adelaide, Elix said industry is focusing too much on developing technology instead of its effective use in business.
Industry, he said, must step up the pace of integration because "right now the pieces don't fit".
"Complexity is undermining the value of corporate IT spending with CEOs still today questioning its value; people are running out of energy and patience," Elix warned.
"It is staggering to think of how much money is spent on complex technology; analysts claim up to 40 per cent of a company's IT spend is used to integrate technology," he said.
"Industry needs to integrate technology so it is woven into the very fabric of the enterprise; it is up to us to do something about it but it cannot be solved without IT company collaboration on standards.
"We need openness between IT companies because the potential for open standards are huge, companies can't be locked into propriety platforms."
Elix said CIOs should not need to worry about technology, they need to make progress in the business arena by aligning the two together.
"Technology itself isn't the problem, because huge advances will continue; it's how to manage the business benefits that is difficult and it is up to IT professionals to show real leadership here," he said.
Likening the use of technology to utilities such as electricity and telephones, Elix said smart CIOs are simply buying services off the Internet and paying for what they use.
"In this environment CIOs take on a different role, they don't run technology; they buy as a service to add value to the enterprise which is a much more exciting career prospect for IT professionals," he said.
Pointing to future computing advances where systems will be self-managing and tap into the power of grid computing, Elix said "we haven't even scratched the surface".
"We will build systems that have the computing power of the human brain by 2020; right now computer power equals the brain power of a lizard."