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Expectations and reality vastly different for IT departments


By Neil Amato

Organisations with an agile, efficient IT infrastructure have a significant competitive advantage over those with insufficient technology, a new survey shows. And the IT departments that are well-equipped are far more likely to be viewed as strategic business partners.

They can quickly deploy applications, outpacing their competitors in time to market.

That’s according to a survey by Softchoice, a North American technology services provider.

“The gap between front-office expectations and the back office’s ability to deliver has never been so wide,” the survey said.

This gap can lead to a difference of opinion about IT’s role in an organisation. Ideally, IT managers would spend more time on security and strategy. In reality, according to the survey, they spend most of their time on maintenance and the least of their time on strategy. Seventy per cent of IT managers spend less than 25% of their week on strategic projects.

A strong majority (80%) of front-office managers see IT as a cost centre instead of as a revenue generator, the survey said, and 31% don’t involve IT when purchasing new software for their departments.

Finance should partner with IT and business leaders to deliver on the potential of Big Data, according to a recent CGMA report.

Companies that fail to embrace technology, in part by equipping IT with the proper tools, are missing out on opportunities.

“We’ve found most organisations’ outdated data centres are struggling to keep up with employees’ and clients’ growing demands,” Doug Sekus, director of business development at Softchoice, said in a news release.

IT departments with the right infrastructure, defined as infrastructure that meets the needs of front-office employees, are four times more likely than others to deploy new applications within one business week; 58% of organisations take more than a month to deploy new apps. In contrast, 73% of front-office managers think apps should be developed and deployed in less than a month.

The survey of 1,000 IT and line-of-business managers also showed that 46% of organisations have no hybrid cloud capabilities.

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Neil Amato (namato@aicpa.org) is a CGMA Magazine senior editor.

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