Need for greater alignment between IT and business

by CXOtoday News Desk    May 14, 2013

business IT

Even though IT and business leaders are working in close association with each other unlike in the past, there is still a gap when it comes to aligning business needs with technology, according to a new Cisco study. The Global IT Impact Survey 2013 by Cisco also reveals that a number of CIOs and IT managers believe that they are not often involved in the key decision making of the company and moreover, business decision makers tend to bypass the budget or support that is needed by the IT department.

As far as business collaboration is concerned, Cisco sees the need for a greater alignment between IT and business. Although 63 per cent said they are confident that IT can respond to business needs, 76 per cent said business leaders always or sometimes roll out new applications without engaging the IT department, and 38 percent said they are brought into the planning and deployment processes too late. Thirty-six percent said the IT department was viewed by business leaders as innovators. However, for the rest, IT leaders mainly played a support role and are expected to take care of the back stage.

Challenges with emerging technologies

IT managers believe that they can respond to business needs with the emergence of trends such as bring-your-own-device (BYOD). Many of them have moved critical applications to the cloud, and are increasingly relying on virtualizing their datacenters. However, there are challenges that CIOs/IT managers need to overcome. 

The study noted that 41 per cent claimed their networks weren’t ready to support BYOD policies and 38 per cent said they weren’t ready to support cloud deployments. Most of them believe that moving apps to the cloud is one of the top challenges in IT.

Experts believe that cloud and mobility are becoming essential part of any organisation. “The CIO’s role changes automatically with cloud implementation as it involves a greater integration of IT with the business goals,” says Srinivas Anapinidi, CIO, CSS. He believes unless CIOs get the support from other C-suites, it will be extremely difficult to obtain business value from IT and the gap will continue to remain.

Awareness level

The survey also indicates that IT department should be given adequate technology training that can be applied in business to bring value. The research shows that while IT managers are familiar with some trends, such as software-defined networking (SDN), they do not have as deep an understanding of others, such as the Internet of Things.

Some 34 per cent said they have been involved with some kind of SDN deployment in action, a clear 71 per cent of CIOs said that they plan to rollout in the next one year, citing cost savings as a key motivator.The same cannot be said about Internet of Things, a technology that is currently familiar with only 42 per cent respondents. Experts believe this technology needs a greater level of awareness, especially at the time when most IT infrastructure will rely on IPv6 and managing and securing the new streams of data flowing across the network will throw up new challenge.

“More than ever, IT has the potential to make a profound impact on the business – and opportunity to act as a strategic partner – by building a network architecture that can leverage multiple technology transitions,” said Rob Soderbery, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco’s Enterprise Networking Group.

Soderbery believes that the most successful IT professionals are those who acknowledge that fast decision-making within the enterprise is directly tied to the readiness of the network for which support of top management is essential.

In this context, Sanjeev Kumar, Group CIO & Group President – Business Excellence of Adhunik Group recommends CIOs to play a more proactive role in an organisation, understand the business and communicate in business language. “In other words, the CIO today must be champions of innovation and drive business results and showcase his expertise in the organisation by embracing greater transparency, form strategic partnership with the industry and people and network effectively so as to keep himself updated on the recent market trends.” He believes that once the IT leader becomes a part of the board and established his credibility, it becomes a lot easier to drive the change.