IT goals differ for Aussie bosses, staff

The IT priorities of tech professionals in Australia and New Zealand are markedly different than those of senior management.
Written by Phil Dobbie, Contributor

Australian and New Zealand tech professionals and senior management disagree over the nature of their companies' 2010 top IT Priorities, according to the latest ZDNet IT Priorities survey, which polled 1310 IT professionals.

Among senior managers, meeting "Customer and Partner Expectations" was the leading concern — 41 per cent gave it as a top priority. IT tech staff saw "Cost Savings" as their biggest concern, with 38 per cent saying it was their top priority. Cost Savings ranked fourth among senior management.

Tech professionals don't have the same IT priorities as senior management

This disconnect indicates the difference in the mindset between IT staff and senior management, or perhaps it reflects how priorities are passed down through the ranks of an organisation. Senior managers are focusing more on growth — satisfying customers and increasing productivity — while IT staffers have a stronger internal focus, placing a higher priority than their bosses on cost savings, integration and return on investment. Maybe it's a sign that IT staff needs to focus less on inward thinking and more on the high-level objectives of the outward-facing business.

So if there is a communication breakdown, where is it happening? It seems to occur gradually at each step along the management chain. IT staff share four of the top five priorities of IT managers, who in turn share four of the top five priorities of senior managers, as can be seen in the table below.

 Senior managers IT managers IT staff
1 Customer & partner expectations (41%) Customer & partner expectations (33%) Cost savings (36%)
2 Productivity (29%) Cost savings (33%) Customer & partner expectations (33%)
3 Processes (29%) Processes (32%) Productivity (29%)
4 Cost saving (26%) Productivity (27%) Processes (27%)
5 Competitive edge (25%) Managing risk (25%) Integration (23%)

Is company size a factor? It's hard to tell because, unfortunately, the bigger the company, the more likely the survey will have been completed by someone in the IT department. It does appear, though, that medium to large companies (100-9999 employees) put much less emphasis on meeting customer or partner expectations than both larger corporations and much smaller businesses. The same goes for improving processes. Perhaps there's something these mid-sized companies can learn — satisfying your customers with an efficient operation might help you grow.

Sadly for everyone, there's one thing most people agree on, irrespective of their job role or organisation size — green initiatives are bottom of the top priority list. Only 7 per cent of all respondents listed it and, unfortunately, the score was lowest in the government and health sector.

For more information on how to get a full copy of ZDNet Australia's IT Priorities research results, email Theresa Muzinda.

Editorial standards