Closer ties between IT and C-level leads to better performers: survey

15 Feb 2013

Companies where IT collaborates closely with senior business leaders are four times more likely to be successful than peer organisations where those relationships are broken, a new worldwide survey indicates.

The finding comes from PwC’s fifth annual ‘Digital IQ’ survey, which looks to measure how well companies understand technology and embed it into their businesses. The consulting firm said this indicator is about more than implementing cutting-edge technology or spending large amounts of money on IT.

Instead, the higher measure of Digital IQ is where technology investment is consistently bound to business strategy, in order to achieve goals, such as improving speed, increasing agility or gaining competitive advantage.

The survey polled 1,108 respondents from 12 countries across the Americas, Europe and Asia. It identified hallmarks of companies where there are strong, collaborative relationships between the CIO and other senior business leaders.

They act differently to other organisations, and are more closely aligned in their thinking from strategy through to execution.

Another hallmark of ‘strong collaborators’ is that they have one multi-year road map for the business strategy, and an explicit process to link the business strategy to the IT road map, PwC said.

Such companies are more aggressive in their IT capital spending to support strategic corporate initiatives, such as new geographic markets, new product and service development, M&A, joint ventures and strategic alliances, the survey found.

They make more aggressive investment in emerging technologies like mobile, social media, big data and cloud, and are more likely to have everything on a mobile platform.

These types of organisations frequently have more explicit and systematic approaches to organising, managing and measuring innovation. This tends to be either through a dedicated group within the organisation or a ‘just-in-time’ team assembled for that purpose.

Strong collaboration equals strong results – PwC

‘Strong Collaborator’ organisations generate better results across the company, according to PwC. Their IT initiatives are more likely to be delivered on time, at or below budget, and within 100pc of the planned project scope. Organisations identified as top performers reported revenue growth of more than 5pc.

Top performers perceive their CEO as a champion of IT who remains actively involved from strategy through execution and more often views capital IT investments as a means to support growth initiatives and leverage emerging technologies.

David McGee, consulting partner at PwC Ireland, said the role of IT management should be to foster and facilitate dialogue at the top levels within their organisations. “Digital IQ is about the CIO orchestrating rather than owning conversations,” he said.  

Companies with higher Digital IQs think differently about their IT strategy, opportunities, and risks, he added. “Organisations with collaborative C-suite relationships have a shared understanding of corporate strategy between IT and business leaders and understand costs to implement that strategy.”

Collaboration image via Shutterstock

Gordon Smith was a contributor to Silicon Republic