IT departments boosted by compliance spending

As executives realise the key to legal headaches may lie in the better use of technology, IT departments are being brought in from the cold

The use of technology in solving the compliance headache is increasing with more businesses realising the extent to which the IT department can ease problems born in boardrooms and finance departments.

This represents something of a turnaround in a situation which previously saw IT departments kept in the dark where compliance is concerned.

According to research from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), 45 percent of respondents to a recent survey said IT's role has "increased greatly" in areas such as security and data protection.

Document retention and financial regulation — issues central to Sarbanes-Oxley compliance — were cited by 33 percent and 34 percent of respondents, respectively, as areas where IT's role has seen a great increase.

And with increased importance comes increased spend. More than half the respondents (53 percent) said annual expenditure on compliance-related IT is increasing by 10 percent per year.

Nigel Holloway, director of executive services for the Americas at EIU in New York, said in a statement: "Companies may not realise it now but in time this will help to involve IT professionals in broader corporate strategy."