The headline of McKinsey’s 5th business technology survey has a strong business ecology - optimization for innovation vibe: "executives say they want more immediate value from IT and forward-looking strategies from technology leaders that support growth and innovation.”
In the survey, McKinsey “asked 864 executives, including chief information officers (CIOs), chief technology officers (CTOs), other executives in the IT function, and C-level executives in other functions about their organizations’ business technology agenda, their adoption of emerging technologies, and the impact of IT on management practices.”
The finding most interesting from a business ecology perspective, is that as we shift “r-words”, from recession to reset, IT is once again being viewed as an enabler:
“Respondents report that IT is becoming more than a simple cost center in the minds of many executives. Compared with earlier surveys, a smaller share—23 percent—say IT’s primary contribution to the corporation is in delivering IT services at the lowest cost, down from 25 percent in 2009 and 33 percent in 2008. Instead, more IT and non-IT executives are expecting IT to help drive broader business efficiency (39 percent) and differentiated performance (21 percent) this year. These expectations are reflected in executives’ beliefs about current IT priorities for their organizations: two of the top three priorities center on using IT to improve business performance (Exhibit 2).”
As Exhibit 2 illustrates, non-IT executives top priorities are 1) “Improving cost efficiency of business processes” (optimization) and 2) “Improving effectiveness of business processes – providing additional or better capabilities” (innovation).
That’s great news for IT, right? Well, only if they get the message. Exhibit 2 also points out that IT executives are prioritizing IT cost cutting over business performance.
That’s more than an “alignment” issue. It’s a lost opportunity. For the business, IT and quite possibly, those myopic CIOs.
Business is resetting their expectations. IT needs to reset their agendas.