Strategic IT Planning Stumbling Blocks

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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