CIOs are winning the business value battle

Top IT professionals are winning the battle to prove the value of IT to their businesses, the latest research by Computer Weekly reveals.

Top IT professionals are winning the battle to prove the value of IT to their businesses, the latest research by Computer Weekly reveals.

Computer Weekly's CIO Index, a survey of more than 100 chief information officers and IT directors, shows that 77% believe it is getting easier to show how IT helps their companies - a rise of 66% since February last year.

Ben Booth, global chief technology officer at polling and market research group Ipsos, said the findings reflect the rise of a new generation of business-focused IT directors.

"There has been a change in the sort of people who become CIOs in successful organisations. They are good communicators and have experience in running part of the business. They might not necessarily have a technical background," he said.

The research, conducted in May, reveals that IT directors are being more proactive in measuring the value of IT projects to their companies. Some 54% of IT directors said they were systematically measuring the business benefits of their work, up from 42% six months ago.

At the same time, communications between IT and the business are improving, according to 92% of the IT chiefs surveyed.

And most CIOs are confident that their board of directors understands the importance of IT, with 38% agreeing strongly that this is the case. Their relationship with the board enables them to optimise the value of their technology investment, said 70% of the IT leaders surveyed.

Paul Stevens, vice-president for information technology at GlaxoSmithKline, said that businesses were now more open to evidence of IT's value - if IT directors were courageous enough to demand that IT should have as much credit as any other department.

Mike McElwee, ICT director at English Heritage, said there were very few senior managers who did not see IT as necessary to the business. "There is greater acceptance nowadays that IT is core to any business change," he said.

Tracking the benefits of IT and business change projects is becoming more commonplace and rigorous, said Jos Creese, advisory group member of IT directors group The Corporate IT Forum and CIO of Hampshire County Council.

"However, I still think we have got a long way to go," he said. "If you ask most organisations to quantify the value of their annual IT investment in terms of business outcomes, rather than traditional IT terms, some will still struggle."

More findings from the CIO Index >>

David Taylor's IT leadership blog >>

New starts in IT lack business acumen, says e-skills >>

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