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Study: Tech execs want more input

For the fourth year in a row, chief information technology executives say they want more input in their corporate board rooms.

For the fourth year in a row, chief information technology executives say they want more input in their corporate board rooms.

According to a recent study, the single greatest challenge confronting CIOs throughout the world is assuring that the priorities of their information technology organizations are in line with the business strategies of their corporations.

Conducted by Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), the 11th Annual Critical Issues of Information Systems Management Study found that 72 percent of the 594 IT executives polled ranked aligning IT and their companies' corporate goals as their top concern. This is the fourth consecutive year that this priority headed the top of the list for IT executives.

"Generally speaking," the issues in the study "have remained relatively consistent in their ranking over recent years. What is quite telling, and indeed troubling, is the mediocre rankings I/S executives consistently give to the quality and effectiveness of their own organizations' service to the business," CSC partner Bill Domeika wrote in the study. "Even more disconcerting is how dismally I/S execs rate their performance as perceived through the eyes of their users."

For example, more than 40 percent of respondents rate their organizations' effectiveness as "average," merely acceptable or only somewhat effective. Worse still, roughly 66 percent of these same I/S executives feel that their users would rate their service delivery as merely average, the study found.

CSC concluded that this shows that from the IT execs' perspective, things are getting worse. CIOs are frustrated with the slow pace of getting this important strategic corporate resource aligned with the business strategies of their companies.

"Now more than ever, I/S organizations must become real-time, integral players in business strategy planning. Not an easy task," wrote Domeika. "Business and IT strategy can no longer be viewed as a competitive relationship, with each side waiting for the other to fail. And the responsibility for alignment can no longer rest solely on the shoulders of the CIO. Rather, it must be a priority of the entire executive team."

The study also looked at the ongoing efforts by CIOs to rid their systems of the Year 2000 computer problem, and discovered alarming news. Of those surveyed, 16 percent reported that they have already deployed Y2K remedial programs.

On a regional basis, 21 percent of North American organizations indicated they have deployed Y2K remedial programs; 16 percent in Europe; and only 12 percent of firms in the Asia-Pacific region are ready for the new millennium.

In all, 63 percent of the respondents said they are at various stages of remediation. The remaining 21 percent of organizations around the world surveyed by CSC are only now assessing their Y2K problem. A regional breakdown shows that 28 percent of the respondents from the Asia-Pacific region have only reached the initial assessment stage, compared to 17 percent in North America and 11 percent in Europe.

CSC warned that those organizations that are still in the early stages of assessing the Y2K solutions will "clearly suffer negative consequences" in 2000, some possibly as severe as interruptions of mission-critical business processes.