IT survey paints positive picture of local industry


The CA Attitude to IT Business Alignment survey shows local CIOs have an opportunity to transform perceptions of IT and the value it delivers.

The survey was conducted by independent research company Interserv and targeted CIOs and IT leaders in companies of more than 500 employees. In total, 69 CIOs were interviewed across South Africa from a diverse range of industries including both public and private organisations.

Wilhelm Hamman, Business Unit Manager from CA Africa presented the survey results at a recent Foster-Melliar breakfast seminar.

The attitudinal survey found CIOs feeling positive about their level of inclusion in strategic business discussions around IT and business alignment in addition to understanding the value of IT within the business.

The survey did however re-establish that the "value? that IT brings to the table is defined in terms of or relative to the price-tag attached to it.

IT contributes to the financial performance of an organisation by reducing costs, said 68% of the respondents, with 58% of respondents identifying budget reports as the primary tool used in establishing this fact.

A budget and time comparison is regarded as the number one method for measuring the effectiveness of both internally managed and outsourced IT projects.

"Financial value management is an important aspect of responsible IT governance controls," comments Gary Lawrence, Country Manager for CA Africa.

"But being measured against a budget reinforces the view that IT only represents a cost, rather than a contributor to the business. An IT project could successfully meet budget and timeline requirements and still prove to be an absolute failure in terms of business benefit."

"CIOs and IT leaders have the tools at their disposal that will allow them to measure the value that IT adds to a business, effectively allowing IT to produce results," says Lawrence.

"If IT can present itself in ways that the business requires, other than using cost as the yardstick, that?s when IT earns its seat on the board. Aligning IT functionality with business requirements proves that it has become a core business function rather than a cost centre.'

Findings from the survey include:

  • 64% of respondents offered a score of eight or higher on a scale from one to ten in terms of how well they were included in strategic business discussions (mean score 7,48)
  • 44% scored 8 or higher in terms of how well they felt the business understand the value of IT (mean score 6,88)
  • 58% felt that budget reports is the lead method of demonstrating value to the business with 56% highlighting service level agreements as a method of measurement with only 38% choosing "specific business metrics?
  • 86% scored 5 or higher on their ability to align IT assets to business process
  • 90% said they could identify which business processes would be disrupted by a disruption in the underlying IT infrastructure
  • 64% had up to ten ongoing internal IT projects with 60% having the same amount of outsourced IT projects
  • 78% of respondents measure the success of internal IT projects against budget and time, with 66% using "deliverables tracked? and 34% measuring against benefits tracked
  • the numbers for outsourced projects was 58%, 44% and 28% respectively with the difference accounting for 21% of respondents not having any outsourced projects
  • 68% of respondents felt that IT contributes to company performance by reducing costs; 50% said IT delivered additional revenue, while 8% saw no contribution at all
  • On average, respondents said that 56% of IT investment went into business-as-usual activities, while 44% went into projects focused on innovation and growth

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