Whether an organization is considering adopting cloud computing, unified communications or some type of enterprise applications like ERP or CRM, information technology remains a staple for many companies. A joint survey of 175 board directors by Gartner and Forbes found that 86 percent of participants believe the impact of IT on their companies will increase by 2014.
"Board directors clearly have a top priority to invest in IT and leverage IT for competitive advantage," said Gartner vice president and analyst Jorge Lopez. "These forward-looking and proactive attitudes are being made although more than half of the survey respondents replied that they are preparing for a market recession."
Gartner also noted that board directors are leveraging IT for improving business innovation, gaining a competitive advantage and focusing efforts on customers to retain or gain new consumers or markets.
Mark Raskino, Gartner vice president and fellow, said CIOs should choose IT projects that accelerate companies' overall priorities.
"Although this seems obvious, in practice, it is challenging to drive consensus on what that exactly means. CIOs need to review project elements with the CEO and key board sponsors, so they can understand that the project is designed to enhance their priorities in a meaningful way," Raskino added.
Cloud computing, unified communications driving IT
IT staffing firm TEKsystems and the Loyalty Research Group conducted a larger survey of more than 6,100 IT professionals regarding how their organizations are leveraging certain technologies, including the cloud and unified communications.
Of those polled by the firms, 55 percent said cloud computing's return on investment takes less than a year, while 53 percent gave unified communications this distinction. Approximately 60 percent of respondents said UC deployments' ROI is just under $2 million and 57 percent answered this way regarding the cloud.
TEKsystems director Rachel Russell said IT departments have clear objectives when adopting technologies, including cost-efficiency, client satisfaction and meeting productivity requirements. Another key responsibility for IT is to convey to organizations how certain solutions align with overall business goals and open new revenue opportunities in the process.
The survey found that many IT professionals believe their departments are meeting these goals, as 66 percent said the success of IT programs was very good or excellent and more than half said these platforms meet overall business needs.