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IT: Is it Dead or is it Vital for Business Survival?

By Dick Weisinger

Last year ComputerWorld declared that ‘IT is dead‘, and many industry pundits have agreed.  Increasingly cloud and mobile technologies enablesmany groups within organizations to end run IT, marginalizing both the IT department and the CIO.  So the results of a recent report jointly created by Gartner and Forbes comes as a bit of a surprise.  The gist of their report is that in tough times organizations increasing look to IT to help achieve greater productivity and efficiency.

The Gartner report showed that 66 percent of business leaders expect the contributions of IT to be “high” or “extremely high” over the next couple of years, years where they continue to see lean budgets.  One thought is that business leaders aren’t really talking about the IT department, they’re simply talking about technology.  IT has become synonymous with the adoption and use of technology.

Jorge Lopez, Vice President and distinguished analyst at Gartner, commenting on the results of the report, makes clear that the report is addressing IT as an entity with the organization.  He said that “There are two dimensions: IT productivity, where the internal operations and structure of IT itself are restructured to perform at a cost vastly different from the competition, and the entrepreneurial CIO scenario, where the IT organization takes a leadership position to rewrite the rules of competition for the industry. To meet the expectations that have risen will require rethinking about how IT operates.”

Gartner found, not too unexpectantly, when business leaders were asked to rank their priorities, business performance objectives that contributed to increased revenues and profit topped their list.  Those priorities were followed by policy objectives, like improving corporate governance.  And the bottom on the list included priorities were Social Responsibility  items, like going “Green” and social and philanthropic activities.

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