Meta: stop trying to align IT with the business

IT directors need to change business’ perceptions of IT as a cost centre or face having their IT departments outsourced,...

IT directors need to change business’ perceptions of IT as a cost centre or face having their IT departments outsourced, according to Jean-Louis Previdi, director of research at analyst group Meta.

Speaking at last week’s Meta conference in Munich, Previdi told IT directors to manage the expectations of the whole enterprise and stop trying to align IT with the business.

“A chief financial officer will never say he is aligning finance with the business,” Previdi said. “IT is the business.”

He said CIOs were change agents for the enterprise and should speak in terms of value, accountability, finance and return on investment across the whole business.

In particular, they should focus on corporate governance and be able to discuss with other business heads the impact of legislation such as the US Patriot Act, International Accounting Standards, Sarbanes Oxley and Basel II.

Previdi advised CIOs to avoid referring to specific technologies such as firewalls and anti-virus gateways when discussing security with the board. “IT security is a way to offset risk. In order to gain credibility the CIO should speak in terms of risk management and security policies,” he said.

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