Companies are not equipping staff with the right technology to do their jobs, Microsoft's chief executive Steve Ballmer told business leaders at the Institute of Directors’ Annual Convention last week.
In a study conducted with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Microsoft found that 78% of CIOs and CEOs of large businesses in the UK say that their people are their most important asset.
Yet only 39% of them say their IT strategy exists for the purpose of helping people do their jobs better, and 30% say that IT has nothing to do with improving productivity, according to the research.
Ballmer said, "It's not about the IT itself, it is about IT facilitating the people who drive the important business outcomes for a company."
Ballmer also had some advice to those businesses that run in-house software development. "A good programmer is 10 times as productive as an average one," he said.
Customer and supplier relationship management was a key area where software could boost productivity and profitability, said Ballmer.
He added that one of the reasons Microsoft hired the former chief information officer of US retail giant Wal-Mart was because the retailer had led the way in this area.
"Wal-Mart opened its computer systems up so that buyers and sellers could see so much more data about which products were selling.
“IT gave them visibility to stock inventories and merchandising selection. Walmart turned its IT inside-out," Ballmer told the conference.