IT gets a seat on the board

But IT professionals are losing out on the top jobs because they lack broader business perspectives and capabilities

First the good news. Nearly four out of five companies have someone on the board who is responsible for IT — compared to three out of five just five years ago.

But now the bad news — many of the executives representing IT don't have an IT background.

According to a National Computing Centre (NCC) survey of 250 medium- to large-sized organisations, IT is now much more widely represented formally at company board level.

But the number of "pure" IT directors — who only have responsibility for tech — has fallen over the last five years from 27 percent to 21 percent, while on 58 percent of boards IT is represented by a "director of IT and other areas".

This might include the IT department reporting to the finance director or other directors who have a board level responsibility for reshaping business processes.

The report also found that organisations with a director responsible for IT and other areas are more likely to report a slower pace of IT adoption compared to those led by pure IT directors.

The NCC said the results indicate IT professionals are losing out on the top jobs because they lack broader business perspectives and capabilities.

Stefan Foster, NCC managing director, said there is now widespread acceptance of the need for a high level champion of IT to ensure technology actually achieves the business benefits that are intended.

And he said boards are increasingly prioritising individuals with proven business credentials and an ability to see change programmes through to conclusion.

A lack of involvement and commitment of senior managers is the most common problem holding back the development of an IT strategy, blamed by 45 percent of respondents. Budget limitations are cited as the major implementation problem, as they were five years ago.

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