'Short-term view' hits financial IT sector morale

IT managers in financial services companies increasingly 'despondent' in a sector where cost-cutting is the primary investment driver

Think of financial services companies as cutting-edge users of IT? Think again. Around two-thirds of IT managers in the sector say IT isn't viewed strategically where they work and almost three-quarters reckon cost-cutting has emerged as the primary driver for any investment in IT.

Indeed, the latest research, carried out by the Institute of Financial Services in association with Fujitsu Services, paints a bleak picture. It wasn't long ago that growing a business was the main reason cited for buying IT products and services.

But now, as if underlining the current pressures during the downturn, 76 percent of IT managers in the sector are recommending outsourcing -- as a way to cut costs.

Fujitsu Services' director of strategy for the finance sector Tom Roche reckons there is a direct knock-on effect on IT bosses. In a statement he speaks of them "becoming despondent with their management board."

The study found 35 percent of organisations have no direct IT representation at board level, a situation which hampers IT departments that believe they know what's best for the business.

Roche added: "[IT managers] recognise that IT strategy, infrastructure and capacity must focus on the primary goal of supporting the organisation's business strategy but they find the management board are failing to recognise this."

The result is that long-term strategic plans are not followed because of short-term objectives.

The research involved speaking to 100 decision-makers at 35 financial services companies both from business and IT backgrounds.

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