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@IDG Need IT – Don’t Ask CIO for Advice

When business unit mangers in CEE need IT, they increasingly use IT suppliers as informal consultants. According to a recent survey by International Data Corporation (IDC) of non-IT managers in Central and Eastern Europe, nearly two-thirds of line-of-business (LoB) managers speak directly to IT suppliers at the earliest stages of solution consideration. Moreover, 35% reach out to IT solutions providers before they begin formal decision procedures.

IDC notes that line-of-business leaders are increasingly savvy when it comes to IT. “Corporate leaders have stopped asking if they can do something new or better with IT,” says Mark Yates, research manager with IDC. “Instead they ask, Why can’t it be done right now? Marketing and sales managers, operations directors, HR directors, and heads of finances – when they get an idea for improving their business unit, they want the app to be ready to go.”

This is where the IT suppliers come in. Suppliers worth their salt have worked with scores or even hundreds of organizations. They have encountered multiple compatibility issues and helped their customers solve a variety of business problems through the use of IT. It is true that those same IT suppliers will say that their solutions are the best, and overly aggressive salespersons are likely to spend too much time pitching their products. But LoB managers are willing to put up with this (within limits), to take advantage of supplier expertise.

The IDC survey also reveals that lines of business often pay for their own IT. Around 27% of respondents say IT projects are funded out of departmental budgets, rather than the company IT budget. While this number is only 15% in the Czech Republic and 17% in Hungary, it soars to 38% in Romania and 39% in Poland (in North America, this number is even higher). This budgetary split is also supported by IDC’s recently released semiannual spending guide focused on lines of business, which forecasts a significant increase in LoB contributions to IT spending over the next five years.

The shift in influence over IT decisions appears to be largely amiable. The IDC survey shows that 48% of respondents report that they have a cooperative relationship with the IT team. Another 28% say that the IT team is supportive, taking requests seriously and using a transparent approach to assessing their viability. Moreover, roughly 41% of IT projects requested or sponsored by lines of business are jointly led by the LoB and the IT department.

“Forward-looking CIOs see the writing on the wall,” says Yates. “They know they cannot be all things to all people – they do not have the time or the expertise. Like many IT suppliers, CIOs are therefore migrating either consciously or subconsciously to a platform model, whereby they create an IT ecosystem that allows lines of business to leverage IT for tools development, application deployment, and larger-scale innovation.”

Additional insights from the survey include:

• (Lack of) leadership is a primary challenge for lines of business when it comes to IT decisions.

• Command-and-control and indifferent IT departments still account for 17% of IT departments in CEE.

• Operations management and BI/dashboards are the most common IT projects led exclusively by LoBs.

• Around 13% of IT projects are led by business units alone – without IT involvement.

• In terms of achieving goals, organizations in less-developed markets report more than twice as many obstacles as those in more developed ones.

IDC’s survey Collaboration Beyond Borders: How Non-IT Decision Makers Approach IT in Central and Eastern Europe examines the shift in IT decision-making authority away from IT departments toward LoB leaders in Central and Eastern Europe. It reveals key business goals and the relationship between IT, LoBs, and budgets. It shows what types of task-specific solutions are already in place and suggests how new ones might be obtained either directly by LoBs or via collaboration between LoBs and IT. Conducted in six countries (Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia), the survey focused on four non-IT job areas (finance/accounting, marketing, sales, and operations) in seven different verticals markets (business services, finance, manufacturing, retail/wholesale, telecommunications, transportation/logistics, and utilities).

About IDC
IDC leads the innovation discussion through events, research, and consulting. For nearly five decades, it has been giving IT and business professionals data and insight to make strategic decisions. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. Learn more at www.idc.com.

Source: http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prCEMA40990816

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