UK companies are more than twice as likely to measure IT as a cost centre (86%) than French (37%) or German (32%) firms, according to an independent survey of 300 European IT decision makers, commissioned by CA.
Even though 31% of French and German firms measure IT investment against business metrics, just 17% of UK firms follow suit. A forward-thinking 28% of French firms measure IT as a profit centre, compared to just 3% in the UK.
The good news for UK IT departments is that they are the most positive about their contribution to the bottom line and their relationship with the business. But although 60% of UK firms are committed to improving this business alignment, the number one driver is to improve operational efficiency rather than play a more strategic role.
“The fact the driver is operational efficiency implies that in actual fact they plan to continue in the ‘cost centre’ role,” comments Colin Bannister, director of enterprise IT management strategy for CA’s Western Region.
In contrast, French IT departments pinpoint customer service and satisfaction as their key driver, while Germany is focused on new products and services.
The differences between the UK and continental Europe suggest that IT is seen as a business service in the UK rather than adding business value.
“If they [UK firms] are telling us they work closely with the business and they are positive about their contribution then they are effectively telling us they believe their role is to contribute efficiencies, whereas in France and Germany they obviously believe their role is to deliver more strategic business value,” adds Bannister.