>CIOs are consumed by day-to-day tactical/operational IT issues and firefighting IT problems, and as a result, there is a lack of focus on IT planning and governance—two of the biggest problems facing CIOs today.
ISACA, an organization serving IT governance professionals, conducted a survey consisting of 695 interviews with CEO/CIO-level executives in 22 countries, and published the results in IT Governance Global Status Report 2006.
Here are some of the amazing findings from this study.
Firefighting predominates: “Organizations are suffering from IT operational problems…only 7% of the respondents experienced no IT problems at all in the previous year…Operational failures and incidents…are mentioned by approximately 40 percent of respondents.”
IT’s alignment with Business is weak: Only 56% of the organizations surveyed “understands and supports the business users’ needs.”
Strategic Planning is underrated by CIOs: “More than 93 percent of business leaders recognize that IT is import for delivering organization strategy…Somewhat paradoxically, general management perceives the importance…slightly higher than does IT management.” In fact, in the public sector, IT was viewed as a commodity versus strategically by 47% of respondents!
IT governance is lagging: “CIOs recognize the need for better governance over IT,” to align IT strategy and manage risks. Yet, “when asked if they intend to do or plan IT governance measures, only 40 percent replied in the affirmative.”
Liza Lowery Massey, who previously served as CIO of Los Angeles, says in Government Technology, 9 July 2007:
“Establishing IT governance up front is the No. 1 thing I would do over in my career. IT governance is crucial to a CIO’s sanity.
Further, Liza wrote in Government Technology, 14 April 2008:
“Now when I help my clients implement IT governance, I see the benefits firsthand. They include shrinking your IT department’s to-do list, achieving IT/business alignment, putting teeth into policies and standards, and focusing departments on business needs rather than technology. My work life would certainly have been smoother had I set up governance to address these issues instead of trying to handle them all myself.”
CIO Magazine, 1 November 2006, has an article by Gary Beach, entitled “Most CIOs Fail to Convince Top Management That IT Can Transform Business.”
In this article, Gary notes that the rate of investment in IT is half the rate of corporate profit growth, and he asks why?
Certainly, the failure to align with business, and effectively plan and govern IT is hindering CIO’s ability to succeed.
The unfortunate result, as Andy McCue reported in Silicon.com on 26 April 2007, is that “CIOs and the IT department are in danger of being relegated to the role of support function because of a lack of vision and technology innovation.”
The answer is clearly for CIOs to “stabilize the patient” and get out of firefighting mode, and allocate sufficient time, attention, and resources to IT planning and governance. Only in this way will CIOs effectively align IT with business requirements, solve genuine business problems, innovate and transform the enterprise, and fulfill the strategic role that the business is looking for from them.