The percentage of chief information officers reporting to the chief financial officer fell from 76% in 1999 to 58% in 2004. But the proportion of chief information officers reporting to the chief executive rose from 24% in 1999 to 39% in 2004.
Hackett Group's benchmark study found that IT directors have been shifting focus from big roll-outs to harvesting the business benefits of existing technology investments.
Budgetary constraints due to a global economic slowdown were found to be the main driver for this shift. Postponements or cancellations of large-scale deployments of technology were noted, as well as significant attention to cutting costs across the board.
Hackett said many IT directors were still too focused on deployment and ensuring systems stability, and were neglecting to take steps to reap the benefits of their IT implementations.
Michael Campbell, vice-president at Hackett Group, said, "IT needs to handle day-to-day operations efficiently."
Demonstrating competence in IT operations such as ensuring e-mail systems remained up and running, reducing costs year-on-year and improving supply chains were key to winning over the board, Campbell said.