Chris MurphyEditor, InformationWeek
6 Ways IT Still Fails The Business
One-third of companies use dashboards extensively to provide interactive data visualizations. In comparison, 60% use spreadsheets extensively, and half use emailed PDF or HTML reports. This suggests plenty of room to move away from a mentality of backward-looking reports and toward data-driven decision-making tools.
The good news: This shift is starting. Almost half of companies (47%) plan to use analytics or BI for predictive analysis, compared with one-third that do so now. Only 20% have no plans for such use. That 47% is by far the highest category of "planned use" among 14 areas for analytics use in our InformationWeek Analytics, BI and Information Management Survey. This isn't just IT's problem -- business unit leaders need to stop relying on rear-view mirror reports and start pushing for predictive analysis.
5. IT Hasn't Built A Bridge To Marketing
Barely half (51%) of IT pros characterize IT's relationship with marketing as good or excellent, our Outlook 2013 survey finds. Almost one in five (18%) says it's poor or fair. Human resources and supply chain are the only areas close to that, with only 54% and 53% rated as good or better. On the flip side, almost two-thirds describe their finance and CEO relationships as good or excellent.
IT can't let this stand. Marketing increasingly relies on data and analytics to do its job. Product development increasingly means apps and embedded technology as a key part of what makes products special. IT needs to contribute to those efforts. At the C-level, it's up to CIOs and CMOs to build this bridge -- and to the CEO to insist that it happens. Just as important, CIOs need to embed staff-level leaders inside the marketing organization to serve as a resource and plug the marketing efforts into the larger IT strategy.
6. IT Doesn't Focus On The End Customer
This is the area we've seen some of the greatest change in recent years -- for the better. The best IT teams and IT pros have always understood their industry as well as the technology. But the combination of mobile computing and improving analytics have let the best IT shops get closer than ever to their customers -- the people or companies who buy their products.
Companies are creating mobile apps for their customers, using analytics to understand and market to customers in new ways and embedding more technology in their products. In this year's InformationWeek 500, 46% had introduced an IT-led product or service; in 2009, just 37% had. Likewise, 30% include "engage customers in new ways" as a top priority, where 20% did three years ago.
Again, this isn't just IT's problem. Some companies chase these tech-powered customer opportunities by routing around the IT organization, hiring an outside mobile app developer or implementing customer analytics without IT's involvement (see the previously discussed concern about IT moving too slow). IT must be a part of those discussions, even if the decision is to outsource development or use cloud software.
Tech spending is looking up, but IT must focus more on customers and less on internal systems. Also in the new, all-digital Outlook 2013 issue of InformationWeek: Five painless rules for encryption. (Free registration required.)