Forrester: “Iceberg, Dead Ahead!”
IT is becoming out of touch and risks seeing a greatly diminished role in the enterprise. That’s on of the conclusions from “Business Execs Increase Direct IT Spend to Support Systems of Engagement” from Forrrester. In his post “IT department ‘re-arranging deckchairs on the Titanic’ as execs bypass the CIO,” TechRepublic’s Steve Ranger blogs that business execs impatient for change are leading the charge.
IT chiefs that don’t raise their game when it comes to innovation will see their authority undermined within the next three years as execs hire their own staff to build new tech services, bypassing the IT department and creating a two-tier system according to a report by Forrester Research. The IT department could end up looking after the legacy infrastructure while the exciting development work is done by teams in business units.
I certainly saw this in the early days of the cloud. While many of the cloud’s chief attributes were love letters to IT (no maintenance, predictable costs, easy management), many of the early adopters were line-of-business execs who wanted to deploy a system fast with no heavy lifting. In salesforce.com’s case, the app was CRM. Sales execs liked the productivity and transparency gains, but they loved the idea of a low monthly fee and a easy development, deployment and maintenance that asked little of the IT department. But IT execs were often wary of infrastructure that they could not independently monitor and modify. If they didn’t own it, they didn’t want to be responsible for its performance.
The perennial squeeze on IT budgets, growing complexity of on premise systems, and building confidence in the cloud have helped allay those concerns.
But there still is a gap that exists between business an IT, a gap that threatens to relegate IT to the role of overseeing legacy systems, according to Forrester. That gap is rooted in perceptions of performance
When business and tech execs were asked to rate IT’s capabilities, in every case IT rated itself higher than the business did. Only 39 per cent of execs thought IT consistently delivered projects on time and on budget, something Forrester described as “the basic building block of IT’s credibility”.
Marketing and R&D chiefs also gave the IT department a failing grade because it does not help them to innovate, and the analyst house warned: “Given the pace of technology change and the business’ need to improve products and services and deal with rising customer expectations, this leaves IT at risk of being bypassed for services firms and consultants.”
Here’s a look at that perception gap in detail. The graphic is a bit mind-boggling but it drives home the point that IT rates itself more highly on key attributes than business execs rate IT.
Of course, we don’t know if this perception gap is rooted in reality, but already, Forrester notes, businesses are increasingly getting their own IT budgets to control independently of central IT.
The final word of the estimable Larry Dignan? “Add it up and it’s clear that we’re going to see more business alignment therapy sessions ahead.” Well said, Larry.