Boards don’t appreciate IT

Boardrooms are well known for showing a lack of faith in using IT to drive
strategy. Problems usually stem from a breakdown between the IT department and
management – even when finance directors take responsibility for technology

But IT professionals, often classed as uninterested in business issues, see
the problem. They are so used to spending their time keeping ageing, legacy IT
systems running that they claim it is difficult for them to use technology as a
strategy driver.

‘he challenge is how to future-proof new systems to avoid them becoming next
year’s problem,’said Stefan Foster, managing director of IT lobby group National
Computing Centre. ‘You need a well thought through road-map.’

Mark Holland, partner and head of the IT advisory group at Baker Tilly,
agreed that many businesses are too reliant on legacy systems. ‘The challenge is
that senior management don’t fully understand opportunities available to them –
the benefit. IT is often a grudge purchase,’ he said.

‘The other problem is that IT develops at such a huge speed that, when a
system takes time to implement, by the time it’s finished there is further
functionality available.’

A lack of progress in measuring the benefits of IT leaves systems in place
for a fixed timeframe that is comfortable to the board in what it considers will
give a reasonable return on investment ‘They look to ROI before they invest
again. The problem is that by the end of its financial life, there are
significantly greater benefits available, so IT guys end up propping up old
systems,’ Holland added.

A survey of IT professionals, undertaken by Atos Origin in conjunction with
the NCC, found that 79% of respondents claimed a lack of system agility made it
difficult to align IT with business objectives.

A third viewed regulatory and legal risks involving legacy IT as having the
greatest impact. A similar number said loss of revenue had the biggest impact,
and 23% said customer satisfaction was most adversely effected.

One in ten expected to spend between 50% and 75% of their current IT budget
on legacy IT, while nearly one-half said less than 10% would be spent on legacy.

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