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CIOs have 'middling' influence on business strategy

Ian Grant

Medium to large companies are ignoring the potential benefits of high speed, high quality networks in fighting the recession, according to a survey of CIOs in the UK, France and Germany published today.

The survey, for Juniper Networks, found most CIOs believed the company IT strategy had middling or less influence on overall business strategy, despite a clear link between IT capability and profitability.

Most CIOs and IT directors surveyed believed that a "smart" network was a key business asset. Three-quarters said high quality networks, which provided security, speed and reliability, led to better customer satisfaction, greater operational efficiency, and improved profitability. But when asked how influential IT strategy was upon the commercial performance of their own company, 59% scored it seven or lower on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being highly influential.

Andy Buss, principal analyst at Canalys, said enterprise networks were becoming the equivalent of public carrier networks in many ways. "Applications and compliance dominate business processes," he said. "E-mail uptime is critical as new end-user devices are always on. The shift to mobile computing demands flexible and secure access to applications and services."

Adrian Carr, vice-president of enterprise sales in Juniper's EMEA divison, said senior IT people understand the commercial power of a high-performance network, but it seemed they cannot always turn this to advantage because their colleagues have different priorities.

"Especially under financial pressure, the temptation is to cancel existing innovative IT projects or disregard new ones, while focusing on unavoidable issues such as compliance. This can be a very reactive approach that compounds financial pressure over time, and affects the rate of recovery as the economy improves," he said.

Carr said investment in network-based technologies can help cut capital and operational costs, and lead to competitive advantage in the markets.

Juniper's has published a whitepaper. "High-Performance Under Pressure," based upon its market research findings and the input of several figures from the IT industry.


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