Small steps to a better IT spend
INNOVATION PROFILE PwC:ONE OF THE most frequent issues which arise in modern business is conflict in relation to IT spending. Chief executives and finance directors tend to view IT as a necessary evil, something which the company has to have but on which as little as possible should be spent.
Chief technology officers, on the other hand, tend to hold a diametrically opposite view and lament the lack of investment in IT by their companies, regardless of the amount spent.
“This is an age old challenge,” notes PwC consulting partner David McGee.
“Chief technology officers are always talking about the fantastic things they could do for their companies if they had the money but chief executives tend not to agree. There are two different perceptions of the value of IT to an organisation and this is where the difficulty lies.”
PwC carries out a Digital Intelligence survey each year and a number of key IT issues for business were revealed by its most recent research.
The major process issues identified were strategic planning, the mobilisation of IT projects, and the alignment of IT resources with the needs of the business.
The fact that this last issue was raised as a major challenge points to that divide that still exists in many organisations. “You’ve got to get the different people into a room talking to each other and get them to work together,” McGee points out.
“I dealt with a client at one stage where the chief technology officer related to the rest of the organisation as if he were a third party contractor. This is wrong. Traditional management, structuring by departments, is organised to create focus and specialisation but can result in the creation of internal silos.
“This is not helpful and we spend way too much on IT to allow situations like that to prevent it from delivering on its potential.”
The PwC survey revealed that managers are most interested in what IT can do for them rather than the technology itself. “Only the most geeky of geeks talks about things like gigabit networks.
“What people are concerned about is access to and understanding of their own data. They realise that they don’t know what they have until they put some shape on it. But the business benefit of doing that needs to be better understood.”
McGee has advice for organisations who have identified benefits for an IT project but want to overcome the disconnect between different areas.
“There are some steps which companies can take which are pretty universal and can help ensure the success of a project,” he says.