Dissatisfaction with IT grows

Business wants more from IT -- and as it does, it becomes more critical

Businesses want to spend less on IT operations and infrastructure and shift resources to revenue-producing areas, according to two new studies. But businesses leaders and IT executives are also registering higher levels of dissatisfaction with IT as more demands are placed on technology.

The reports, by the Hackett Group and McKinsey & Co., both agree that business executives want IT to do more to improve the bottom line while companies spend less on infrastructure in the process.

The bad news for people who work in IT operations is that large businesses expect to cut IT staff positions by about 2% this year, thanks to automation and outsourcing, according the Hackett's survey of 160 businesses with revenues above $1 billion.

One path to improved automation will likely be through adoption of software-defined infrastructures, something Bank of America plans to do.

IT budgets will grow by 1.7% this year as IT pivots, increasingly, from a service-providing operation to a revenue-generating one, the Hackett Group said in its study.

IT managers are being told that "you've got to grow the business, not just run the business," said Mark Peacock, an IT transformation practice leader and principal at Hackett.

McKinsey & Co., in its online survey of more than 800 executives -- with 345 having a technology focus -- also found that executives want less of their budgets to go to infrastructure so more resources can be shifted to analytics and innovation.

The McKinsey survey found that business executives are less likely to say now that IT performs effectively, compared to their views two years ago.

"The IT executives are even more negative," wrote McKinsey, with only 13% of them saying their IT organizations "are completely or very effective at introducing new technologies faster or more effectively than competitors." That percentage was down from 22% in 2012.

The negative results "likely reflect the overall rising expectations for corporate IT," wrote McKinsey.

When asked how to fix IT shortcomings, respondents cited improved business accountability, more funds for priority projects and a higher the level of IT talent, the report said.

The Hackett Group survey didn't report on dissatisfaction, but it did find that the top goal for IT organizations this year is "to strengthen partnership and goal alignment between IT and the business."

Patrick Thibodeau covers cloud computing and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at  @DCgov or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His e-mail address is pthibodeau@computerworld.com.

See more by Patrick Thibodeau on Computerworld.com.

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