IT depts pressured to prove business value

13 Jan 2009

One knock-on effect of the economic downturn on IT budgets and depts in firms across the country is that they are now feeling the heat in terms of proving business value, while at the same time struggling to be represented on a company’s board of directors.

The latest survey from IT consulting specialists Clarion Consulting found that 37pc of those questioned felt the pressure was on to prove the worth of the IT department, while less than one third of these respondents actually had a senior IT representative in a strategic decision-making position on the firm’s board of directors.

“The harsher economic climate has put an increased emphasis on value for money and doing more with less,” said Pat Millar, managing director, Clarion Consulting.

“IT professionals need to demonstrate that their operations are in line with industry best practice and are being delivered in a cost-effective manner.”

Millar said that this means many firms are looking to the IT dept, like many other depts in the business world, to cut costs while improving business performance.

However, while 32pc or just under one third of companies were found to have senior IT personnel in a decision-making position this figure for 2008 is actually quite an improvement on 2007, when only 17pc were able to respond in the positive to this question.

Despite this increased representation, 31pc of survey respondents said that with the economic downturn they forecasted a cut in the IT budget by up to 10pc over the next year.

Tellingly, 35pc of respondents said that IT spending decisions in their firm were made by senior business executives with no input whatsoever from IT.

“This statistic reflects the under-representation of IT at board level,” said Millar.

“IT needs to market itself better internally and position itself as a driver of innovation and strategy influencer if it is to protect its position within the organisation and grow its powerbase at board level.”

By Marie Boran