Turning to the IT Department 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 survey by McKinsey & Company, however, reveals that the current trend is a bit different.  While the survey is a bit dated, the information it contains is as relevant today as it was then.

The research indicated that many non-IT executives “seemed to have a developed a healthier appreciation for their information technology functions” according to Joe McKendrick in an older 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 put it.

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

The McKinsey & Co Study, authored by Roger Roberts and Johnson Sikes, reported that the 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 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.

Make sense?


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