Senior business managers are becoming increasingly IT-savvy, but there are still large gaps in their understanding of the potential of technology to improve the organisation, according to research.
In an exclusive survey of IT managers by Computer Weekly and 360°IT - The IT Infrastructure Event, only 45% of respondents thought that senior management had a good understanding of IT, and 31% felt that the board do not fully embrace the potential of IT.
Encouragingly, 64% of IT managers say senior executives see IT as strategic to the business, but 20% feel that IT is seen as a "necessary evil".
Only 20% of IT managers say they are involved closely in decision making by senior managers, and a third of IT departments are treated purely as a cost centre rather than a strategic contributor to the business.
Relationships with the users of IT also show room for improvement, said the survey respondents.
Half of IT managers believe that users see IT as part of the business, and 47% think users see the IT department as a contributor to their success.
But 21% think users see IT as a hindrance to their work, and 26% treat the IT department as somewhere to turn to complain.
Computer Weekly and 360°IT surveyed 417 IT managers and IT professionals for their views, and we also asked them to comment anonymously on their experiences.
Several respondents called on their business counterparts to improve their attitudes to IT.
"Closer integration of IT into the core of the business can only be a positive," said one respondent.
"It provides opportunities to place IT in a position where it is of greater value to the organisation."
Another of the IT managers surveyed said, "Because so much of our daily lives depend on IT, from healthcare to retail, if we don't embrace it and look for the opportunities IT will always be seen as the enemy, when it can actually make such a difference to our individual quality of life and the work/life balance if people were more engaging, and tried to work to solutions not just pointing the fingers or saying it's nothing to do with them."
What IT managers say - a selection of comments from our exclusive survey.
•"Bringing IT into mainstream business can only help to highlight the importance it has on the business rather than just the 'it's gone wrong again' mentality of IT as a support function."
• "IT needs to mature - the threat of cloud computing may remove the need for internal IT and therefore we need to embed ourselves with the business and prove our worth."
• "Business and IT must work together. For far too long strategic thinkers have voiced this objective - it is far from fruition."
• "We have to work closely with our customers to deliver the systems they require to do their jobs."
•"Only when the business goals are aligned with IT and vice versa will true value and worth be achieved."
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360°IT - The IT Infrastructure Event
360°IT is the event dedicated to the IT community addressing the needs of IT professionals responsible for the management and development of a flexible, secure and dynamic IT infrastructure. The event takes place on 22-23 September 2010 in Earls Court, London. Click here for more details about 360°IT.