CIOs struggle with IT governance

1 Dec 2005

Chief information officers (CIOs) consider lack of IT asset information and the distracting burden of introducing new technologies as their biggest challenges over the next 12 months, a survey that includes 30 Irish-based CIOs revealed.

According to CA’s inaugural CIO IT Management Index, a research study conducted by independent research firm MORI of 130 CIOs, 30 of which were from Ireland the 100 from the UK, reveals that challenges in the management of IT are preventing CIOs from successfully conducting the two activities central to effective IT governance – managing IT like a business and delivery a quality service to the business.

Despite 88pc of CIOs agreeing that management of assets is essential to good IT governance, more than a third (35pc) cannot get a single view of their environment and 43pc do not have as much information on assets as they would like.

Further complicating this picture is the amount of new technologies being introduced to the IT environment. Over half (53pc) of CIOs claim to have implemented a significant amount of new technology over the past 12 months and a similar amount (48pc) expect to be doing the same over the next 12 months. Not surprisingly, the introduction of new technologies is identified as the leading challenge facing CIOs over the next year, mentioned by over a third (36pc).

“This constant introduction of new technologies perpetuates the problem of layers upon layers of complexity being built up, which effectively undermines the ability to maintain control over the IT estate,” said Frank Kennedy, Ireland country manager, CA. “Managing IT like a business requires disciplined management of IT resources against IT output, but if CIOs can’t see and control what they have, how can they know whether it’s delivering a return?”

CIOs also face significant challenges on the second pillar of good IT governance: delivering a quality service to the business, largely because they had no process for measuring that quality.

Over half (55pc) of CIOs do not have any type of targets agreed with internal clients, while those that do focus on financial performance as the leading measure. While 70pc agree that IT supply should be linked to the company’s business performance priorities, less than 40pc actually do so. Some 45pc of those that do not link IT supply to performance priorities believe that to do so is impossible.

“Performance measurement is the fundamental way of communicating how IT is aligning to the business and supporting business priorities,” noted Kennedy. “Measuring IT purely on the basis of financial performance means that the function is only being viewed as a cost centre and has little bearing on business priorities other than not being a burden to the business.”

By John Kennedy