Smarten Up, and Feel the IT Love

To exploit technology, companies need a combination of IT-smart business leaders and business-smart IT leaders.

If you want to make this a goal for your organization, start by baselining and benchmarking current performance. To do so, survey your business and IT leaders to assess how they:

  1. Perceive the importance and value of IT
  2. Manage the IT asset
  3. View the quality of the IT-business partnership

I conducted a survey last year to get a handle on the current state of the IT and Business Leader relationship, and I had a hunch that the results would differ depending on the "IT smarts" of an organization. In this survey, "IT-smarts" was determined by the survey respondents, based on an A through F self-grading system.

Here's what I found:

  • 93% of leaders in "IT smart" organizations perceive that the ROI from IT is great or, at least, acceptable. This declines to 50% in organizations that have average "IT smarts" and to a dismal 13% in "IT dumb" organizations.
  • 90% of leaders in "IT smart" organizations say that business leaders drive IT-enabled business change. It appears that as companies become smarter about IT, they change how they manage the IT asset. This declines to 59% in organizations that have average "IT-smarts" to 21% in "IT dumb" organizations. In addition, in smart organizations, business leaders understand and use technology and hold their people fully accountable for exploiting their systems (64%) while in "dumb" organizations, the business leaders are largely disengaged (5%).
  • In "IT dumb" organizations 84% agreed with the statement, "The business makes half-baked requests and is clueless about enterprise impact," versus 35% for "IT smart" organizations. In addition, 68% of "IT dumb" respondents agreed with the statement, "IT doesn't deliver on time," versus 30% for "IT smart" organizations. Clearly, many of the classic negative stereotypes about IT-business collaboration diminish as organizations become smarter about IT.

This survey demonstrates that organizations aren't created equal when it comes to leveraging the IT asset. Business and IT partners who are "dumb" about each others' needs have difficulty collaborating and realizing the value from technology. Alternatively, "smart" business and IT partners understand their respective accountabilities and find collaboration less frustrating and far more productive.

In the next blog, we will review insights gained from the open-ended survey questions, and we'll discuss how you can use a survey like this to focus and monitor improvement efforts in your organization.

If you'd like a copy of the survey, "How IT-Smart Is Your Organization?" click here.

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