Business execs: Enterprise IT isn't innovative, slightly delusional

Business execs: Enterprise IT isn't innovative, slightly delusional

Summary: IT execs think they're swell when it comes to innovation. Business execs see it differently.

TOPICS: Emerging Tech

The bulk of business managers and senior executives see their corporate information technology departments more as obstacles to innovation instead of enablers, according to a Forrester Research survey.

Forrester's survey of executives screams business alignment. To wit:

  • There's a major perception gap between business managers and corporate IT. Forrester found a 25 percentage point difference between how business execs rated IT's ability to deliver projects on time and on budget vs how IT execs graded themselves.
  • 39 percent of respondents thought IT delivers projects well.
  • R&D and marketing give corporate IT a big fail on innovation.
  • The percentage of firms with business units owning IT has doubled.

Here's the disconnect between the business and IT exec ratings. It's a convoluted chart, but the short version is that corporate IT can manage costs ok, but little else. For all the enterprise therapy sessions about business alignment there's not a lot of movement.

Sure there's collaboration between the business and IT on back office (46 percent said there was cooperation), but sales and marketing, R&D and product engineering lagged big time. Thirty three percent of sales and marketing execs said IT collaborates with them and 28 percent of R&D and product engineering considered corporate IT a partner. In other words, the stuff attached to revenue sees corporate IT as a barrier.

The Forrester survey points to an IT buying reality: There are more executives calling the shots on technology.

Other takeaways:

  • Senior managers are driving mobile adoption.
  • Business unit execs hire their own IT staff and services. Thirty seven percent of business execs say they will hire more IT staff this year.
  • SaaS is popular with business executives.
  • Mobile apps, business process tools, smartphones and tablets and analytics are the top goals.

Add it up and it's clear that we're going to see more business alignment therapy sessions ahead.

Topic: Emerging Tech

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Student Shopping

    Nice, I think this blog has covered diverse topics, can someone also provide relevant links related to this topic that covers similar information.
  • Red Tape

    It seems like IT has project managers for its project managers for its project managers. I have gone into meetings as the only business rep and the other four people are IT project managers.

    Even with all of that project management, I had a request to set up VPN for a few of our vendors, and after one year, it is still going through the layers of teams, management, and process.
  • A Competence Gap

    CIO's have become very operational and yet have lost the ability to keep the organization moving forward with initiatives that don't fit their model. Yet, if you look at survey's by CIO Magazine you see that they believe they need to spend more time on business innovation, customers, change efforts and so on. The gap is they lack the competence and worse don't know how to get it. I have presented to a number of CIO Forums and have been the only outside to present for years.

    CIO's could play a very positive proactive role in a world where things change fast. However, they have to realize that technology is not the answer, it is the enabler but only if it fits the emerging business models.
    John I. Todor, Ph.D.
  • Unrealistic Expectations - Disconnect

    I typically see the business thinking they should be getting what they need from IT yesterday because some vendor said that should happen. The reality is IT can only do so much, so fast. Getting incomplete requirements after the business takes months to decide what they want to do with a short deadline doesn't work. The business should engage IT at the beginning, not as an afterthought at the end.
  • Power Shift

    The good news is that cloud computing and Saas are facilitating a shift of power away from the IT department and towards the business units. Business unit leaders are now able to make software buying decisions primarily based on functionality and usefulness to their business, without getting bogged down in infrastructure or architecture discussions. They can buy with the end goal in mind.

    Unfortunately, IT experts understand they are losing power and doing things like "cloud-washing" or other obfuscation to try to stem the tide.