What has IT ever done for business?

Apart from the roads and the aqueducts...

IT may not be as isolated from the decision-making process in the UK as is commonly believed, according to research by the Help Desk Institute (HDI).

More than two thirds (70 per cent) of the IT managers and directors surveyed feel IT plays an integral role in project planning stages, supported by a reported 62 per cent of organisations that have direct IT representation at board level.

However, issues such as capacity and availability management are left to steering committees and working groups, rather than being considered by the board. But this is a more positive response than the European picture would lead one to expect.

Even so, it's not all sunshine and roses for IT bigwigs. The vast majority (75 per cent) of UK businesses still run IT as a cost centre but only half allow their IT department to manage its own budget.

Outsourcing is also a divisive issue. While 38 per cent of those surveyed were strongly opposed the outsourcing trend, 30 per cent felt managers should be able to decide what constitutes good value, and make decisions based on this judgment.

But there is a desire to find common ground between the board and the techies. Howard Kendall, HDI founder, says the survey shows that IT and management both want to resolve the communications gap. But he cautions that there is some way to go.

"Yes, IT is aware that service provision in areas such as availability is crucial, but [there are still few formal contracts between IT and the board] and suggests issues of trust may be prevalent," he said. ®

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