The study, conducted by Illuma Research and sponsored by software tools supplier Compuware, compared IT directors in the UK, France, Holland and Germany.
It revealed a lack of confidence in the ability of IT departments to meet regulatory requirements. Among UK users, 37% admitted they were not confident that the IT function would meet compliance and internal governance deadlines, compared to a European average of 29%.
The survey identified a lack of sophistication in their own management processes as one of the main challenges hampering IT departments.
In the study, 33% of users polled admitted that they did not have an IT governance framework in place to meet internal and external regulations, and 34% said they were reliant on paper-based reports.
A further 43% of IT directors relied on face-to-face or conference meetings with managers.
According to Compuware, the findings revealed that 77% of users were not effectively tracking efforts to complete important projects, such as compliance.
The survey found that UK IT departments played a lesser role than their European counterparts in compliance programmes. Just 32% of UK users questioned said their IT departments were permanently represented in the business' compliance programme, compared with 43% in France and 47% in Germany.
UK users said the biggest internal barrier to achieving regula- tory compliance was management complacency. French IT directors said difficulty in collecting all the required information was the biggest barrier.
German IT directors considered poor co-ordination between the functions involved in compliance as their biggest concern.
Ayman Gabarin, vice-president of IT governance, EMEA at Compuware, said, "It comes as no surprise that companies are having such difficulties in navigating these challenges when so many are reliant on manual methods to keep up-to-date with the status of their IT work."
The biggest external barrier to achieving regulatory compliance, according to 72% of those polled, was poorly defined rules from industry regulators.