Strategic IT Planning Stumbling Blocks - Page 1

Mar 19, 2004

Allen Bernard

Two recent surveys indicate most CIOs don't have long-range, strategic IT plans. Yet those same surveys conclude that CIOs who do are better able to advance their companies' bottom lines and show ROI on IT investments. (See: Deloitte survey, CSC survey.)

"Having the business-aligned IT plan more than doubles your chances of getting a high return on your IT invest," said Eugene Lukac, a partner in Computer Sciences Corp.'s (CSC) consulting group, speaking of CSC's January survey. "I don't know that this has been shown before. Prior to this, I think people always thought 'Yeah, having a plan would be a good idea,' but now we know that it's not only good idea, it (equals) dollars."

So if the benefits are supposedly so apparent, why don't more CIOs have a plan? While there is no single answer to this question, there are common themes.

One is the service/order-taker mentality still prevalent in many IT organizations, said Dennis Gaughan, research director for AMR Research's IT Governance practice, and a trend also noted by CSC's Lukac. IT for so long has been considered just another business services department, its newly acquired abilities to drive and create revenues either have not been recognized or not capitalized upon by those running the company and, in many cases, those running IT.

But, this is changing, said Gaughan, as more companies continue down the path of IT consolidation and centralization. These efforts cannot be accomplished successfully without some idea of how the business will be affected by such a dramatic shift in the way IT is run and its services utilized.

The current popularity of portfolio management techniques and software is another indicator things are changing, Gaughan said.

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