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IT Gets Strategic

IT as a profit center? Well, maybe not today, but it does appear corporate execs want technology to play a greater strategic role in the business than in the past, at least judging from the results of a recent Gartner survey of 1,400 CIOs in which the respondents said they are increasingly being expected to do much more than help reduce corporate costs and guarantee information security. The Gartner found that business execs have higher expectations for IT than in the past, putting pressure on their CIOs to make "systems more externally focused" to make the company more competitive and drive revenues.The results fly in the face of the long-standing attitude that IT is merely an operational component of business - critical to many, but none the less tactical rather than strategic. And sure, it sounds great but I still have some serious doubts about it.

I do think there is the desire of many businesses to use technology to drive greater profits but the old prejudices - and realities - still hold true. In early August, I was interviewing a number of CIOs for a project and I posed the question to them "Is IT considered a profit center or a cost center." And you got it, every single one of them said it is a cost center.