Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Two-thirds of Companies Not Fully Measuring IT Value, Neglecting Competitive Advantage

A nine-country survey of 1,217 IT professionals reveals that enterprises worldwide believe they are realizing value from their IT investments -- yet they cannot be sure, as fewer than half have a shared understanding of value across the enterprise, and two-thirds fail to fully measure it.

Conducted by ISACA, an association of 86,000 IT governance, security and assurance professionals, the survey found that half of the respondents believe they are realizing between 50-74 percent of expected value from their IT investments, and nearly a fifth believe they are realizing 75-100 percent. Yet, half measure the actual value only “to some extent,” while one in 10 does not measure it at all.

At the same time, half of the respondents reported that accountability for such value measurements is delegated to the IT function itself, instead of remaining with the business, where it belongs.

Additionally, despite the challenging economy, 30 percent of companies are increasing their investments in IT this year, while only 13 percent plan to reduce spending and 14 percent plan to freeze it at the current level. In the UK this average isn’t replicated, as just 19 percent of organizations intend to increase their investment while 20 percent plan to cut spending across the board.

Interestingly, among the benefits organizations receive from their IT-related investments, respondents cited “improved customer service” (35 percent) and “cost reduction” (24 percent) as the two most important. Somewhat surprisingly, only 16 percent named “new or improved products and services” as the top benefit. India stands out, with improved customer service as the top-ranked benefit, at 45 percent.

The survey identified some regional differences—specifically between established economies and fast-growing ones. Of the nine countries surveyed—Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, the UK and the US—the India-based participants were the most advanced in adopting effective value management practices and assigning accountability for those investments to the business. Seventy percent of respondents’ organizations in India have a framework for selecting the IT-related investments that will result in the greatest value and 57 percent fully measure value. In addition, almost half of Indian organizations are increasing IT-related investment based on potential or expected contribution to business value, and 63 percent said there is a cross-departmental understanding of what constitutes value in IT investment—a figure significantly lower in the UK, at just 22 percent, and the US, at 34 percent. Top-down management responsibility for optimizing IT investment was also evident, with one-third of respondents indicating board or board chair level.

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