Brussels, 25 January 2011 – During the economic crisis, IT investment were postponed. The expected economic upturn now creates an opportunity for IT managers, communities and universities, to better manage the value of IT in organisations. This is the conclusion of the fourth edition of Deloitte’s IT-Business Balance Survey report: “2011 Survey on IT-Business Balance: Finding common ground”. As in past years, the survey explores some of the key themes that are vital for setting the direction in IT and Business alignment.
“Looking beyond the company borders can provide inspiration on how to deal with IT and Business alignment in a new, productive way,” said Christian Combes, Deloitte Consulting Partner, one of the survey’s two co-authors. “By offering a glimpse into key areas, we hope the report can be the starting point for fruitful thinking.”
This year’s edition roughly explores the same topics as in previous surveys, but from a slightly different angle. Questions were based on six themes: bonding at the top, looking for benefits, serving professionally, engaging respectfully, managing security & privacy, and reaching out to sourcing partners.
“Although these themes do not exhaustively cover IT and Business alignment, we believe they address many of the critical issues,” said co-author Chris Verdonck, Deloitte Enterprise Risk Services Partner.
The 2011 survey results clearly indicate that IT and Business alignment is progressively improving towards fully supporting corporate performance. Answers from the survey respondents show that the greater the role of IT in the definition of the Business strategy and the more IT and Business strategies are aligned, the better the organisation will perform compared to its peers.
Highlights of the 2011 Survey on IT-Business Balance
Bonding at the top. The closer to the top CIOs are, the better. Personality matters too, along with business knowledge and internal and external relationships. The presence of IT experience at management level is another key alignment factor. The high-level dialogue needs to trickle down through the entire IT organisation and create links at all levels.
Looking for benefits. CIOs can help shape the Business. For example, business cases are open windows to challenge business models. CIOs can show how IT investments create value, but they should also help in tracking the benefits. IT can assist the Business in being selective: structured, value-based portfolio management yields more benefits.
Serving professionally. CIOs must get their shops in order by professionalising IT, “delivering the goods” to the Business and demonstrating achievements. They need to open the doors of the IT organisation to business people, should measure performance in business terms, and use these indicators to engage with the Business.
Engaging respectfully. CIOs should structure IT demand management to help the Business manage its demand, while IT focuses on the supply side. Connecting IT with Business must be taken seriously: fostering a dedicated “relationship function” with appropriate means will help. CIOs should tap into the IT potential of business resources. For the Business, it is an opportunity to gain control, build technology skills and share insights.
Managing security & privacy. Growing cyber security awareness is moving the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) away from the IT department. This displacement allows the Business to feel more involved in security and privacy matters. Organisations without security information functions rarely implement privacy functions. Neither IT nor Business is aware of the number and severity of actual incidents, making it hard to justify investments in security and privacy management.
Reaching out to sourcing partners. IT outsourcing reflects a search for talent. IT and Business should discuss SLAs together in order to align them with business requirements. This will result in more satisfying outsourcing deals.
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