Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Turning to IT When Times are Tough

Turning to IT When Times are Tough
When budgets get tight and the economic outlook is bleak, business owners and executives tend to turn to information technology departments and projects as a potential area for cost cutting. The reason for this is that many businesses view IT purely as a cost center, making it a prime target when driving to reduce operating costs. A recent survey by McKinsey & Company, however, indicates that the current trend is a bit different.
The new research indicates that many non-IT executives "seemed to have a developed a healthier appreciation for their information technology functions" according to Joe McKendrick in a recent ZD Net article on the subject. McKendrick mentions that business executives generally seem pleased with the way the information technology is helping organizations get through these difficult economic times, "navigating the rough seas" as he puts it.

"The survey also suggests that organizations that took the most advantage of information technology going into the recent downturn may have come out the strongest" observes McKendrick.

The McKinsey & Co Study, authored by Roger Roberts and Johnson Sikes, reported that the recent economic downturn actually increased awareness of the role information technology can play in improving business processes and reducing costs. As for the quality of services delivered? The study revealed that non-IT executives largely believe their IT functions responded effectively to the economic crisis. A majority said current performance in providing basic IT services is very or extremely effective. In contrast, IT executives had a dimmer view of their performance, with only a minority being satisfied with service delivery levels.
There have always been questions about the alignment of information technology to the business need, and IT is often perceived as being out of touch with the business. In this new research, McKinsey & Co indicate that IT executives are very aware of the issues of keeping up with the business and are finding innovative ways of addressing them.