Nobody ever talks to us, complains IT

A report says businesses fail to consult IT before making strategic decisions - and are paying for it...

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Research from IT company CA found that three-quarters of innovation projects are signed off without anyone putting in a call to the IT department. And if you’re wondering why on earth your CEO should be asking his techies how to run the company, the answer is simple – in many cases, they’ll be the ones who’ll end up making sure these projects actually happen.

It’s not that IT is complaining about a lack of budget per se, you understand. In fact, given that last year’s average investment of £82m is expected to increase by 5% in each of the next two years, there’s no shortage of funds. However, the black T-shirt brigade is complaining that the money isn’t being well-spent – because they’re not being kept in the loop on strategic objectives. The result is that 55% of new business applications and 56% of new business processes are not getting the right IT infrastructure - whereas if they’d got the call a bit earlier, they could have worked it all out in advance.

And of course, we’re not just talking about a few hurt feelings at risk here. For one thing, lack of proper IT infrastructure can scupper your all-singing, all-dancing innovation projects, by making them not only more expensive but also slower to deliver. But what’s worse, it can also create problems right across the business in terms of storage space, access speeds and data security. If your system suddenly starts trying to run a swanky new application, it might not have any processing power left to manage all of the old stuff.

According to CA’s Chris Miller, businesses are now divided into two categories: the wise builder, who constructs their projects on solid IT foundations, and the foolish builder, who doesn’t. ‘To be a wise builder, the business needs to let IT into the decision making process, rather than simply burdening it with the oft-underestimated end result,’ he said (somewhat poetically).

While we understand that it might not occur to top business leaders to ask IT before launching their latest brainwave, the fact remains that you can’t take a strategic decision any more without it having some kind of IT implication. And we’re all so reliant on our IT systems these days – witness the mass panic if your office internet connection ever goes down for more than ten minutes – that upheaval can turn out to be more trouble than it’s worth. So maybe it’s worth getting that hotline installed from the corner office to the basement...

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