IT Managers Brace Themselves For A Tough Year Ahead

IT managers predict they will be under even more pressure to deliver more for less next year, new research from CIO Connect revealed this week. In a survey carried out ahead of CIO Connect's annual Team Connect conference for IT Managers in London on July 1st, managers confirmed they will have to batten down the hatches in the coming 12-18 months, as board-level executives demand IT departments focus on driving more value from existing infrastructure.

When asked what would impact most on the role and structure of the IS Department until the end of 2009, respondents predicted executive demands for increased value (80%), increased focus on business processes and process efficiency (73%) and executive demands for cost containment (71%).

During the same time frame, 59% of respondents expected budgets to shrink with 60% of this group forecasting cuts of 5-10%. Of the optimists, predicting budget rises (41%), some 62% of the group forecast only minimal increases of between 1% and 5%.

With just 40% of respondents reporting that their CIO had a place at the board room table, IT managers still seem hesitant about the impact their organisation is having on the business.
The majority of IT managers (67%) believe there IS/IT organisation is seen by the Board as a useful business function, but just 20% believe it is seen as a strategic contributor.

When it came to the perceived principal role of IS/IT, 47% of IT managers said it was developing applications and IS, while 29% believed it was running IT systems. Just 13% saw its predominant role as a business change agent and 2% as an advisor on business strategy.

In an analysis of skills, the IT professionals saw their greatest strengths in the area of technology infrastructure and services and their biggest weaknesses in process design and management.

Commenting on the findings, CIO Connect chief executive Nick Kirkland said: "The difficult economic backdrop looks to be casting a cloud over the forecasts of IT managers for the 18 months ahead. In these circumstances, it is certainly important for IS departments to be driving value from their existing applications infrastructure, but the pressure of tougher economic times can also provide the perfect environment for IT departments to create imaginative and innovative solutions to assist their businesses to gain a competitive edge. Our conference on July 1st will be looking to stimulate this thinking further."

At this year's CIO Connect Team conference members will consider the changing role of the IS department and hear the opinions of thought leaders on the future shape of IT in the business organisation.