E-business and staff top IT chiefs' list of concerns

John Riley

UK IT directors worry much more about the relationship between IT and the board than their US CIO counterparts. But both...

John Riley

UK IT directors worry much more about the relationship between IT and the board than their US CIO counterparts. But both groups agree that staff retention and implementing e-commerce are their top two challenges over the next two years.

These findings come from directly comparable surveys from two Richmond Events' shipboard user IT conferences. The US figures are from the CIO Forum Corporate America 2000 event, and the UK comparison is from last May's IT Directors' Forum.

Both events were for senior IT management from non-financial services sector organisations, and delegates were asked the key management challenges and technical issues facing them over the next two years.

The concerns by UK IT directors about culture change, board understanding of IT and IT's role in business strategy were not articulated by their US peers, suggesting that British boards lag behind those in the US.

In contrast, however, more than a half of US CIOs consider staff retention their major management challenge, compared with about a third of the UK counterparts. The UK respondents expressed more concern about training, which may account in part for their lower concern about staffing.

Both groups agree that e-commerce is their main technical challenge, but the UK respondents are less concerned about security, storage, the speed of change or new technology or mergers. They worry more about networking, telecoms, Web applications and bandwidth.

Key challenges for US and UK IT chiefs

The Most Important Management Challenge over the next Two Years

  US CIOs UK IT directors
Staff retention 51.2% 32.4%
Implement e-commerce 31.7% 28.4%
Integrate new technologies 28.0% 5.7%
Strategies 18.3% 7.4%
B2B 11.0% *
Cost controls 8.5% 5.7%
Merger integration 7.3% 3.7%
ERP project 7.3% 2.7%
Knowledge management 7.3% *
Change management 6.1% 14.4%
Customer service * 7.0%
Training 3.7%* 6.0%
IT role in business strategy * 22.1%
Board understanding of IT * 10.4%
Culture change * 8.7%
No of respondents 82 299

The Most Important Technical Issues over the next two years

US CIOs UK IT directors

  US CIOs UK IT directors
Implement new technology 29.0% 9.4%
Security 21.7% 13.7%
Software standardisation 13.0% 11.7% (W2K)
Speed of technology change 11.6% 3.7%
Wireless 11.6% 12.4%
Storage 8.7% 2.0%
Consolidation 5.8% *
Networking 4.3% 12.4%
Telecoms 2.9% 6.4%
Web applications * 12.0%
Bandwidth * 9.7%
No of respondents 69 299

Note: the two sets of responses have been correlated as far as possible, but each reflects transatlantic differences of emphasis. The next CIO Forum in the US takes place from 9-12 September 2001; and the next IT Directors' Forum is on 20-23 June 2001 (see richmondevents.com).

Source: Richmond Events

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