Forrester Forum: Most businesses still don't understand IT

CIOs need to push the idea of "Business Technology"

Only 16 percent of CEOs of the world's largest companies mention IT in their company annual reports, according to George Colony, chief executive of analyst group Forrester.

Among technology companies, such as Microsoft, Dell, HP and IBM, there is no mention of internal IT in the company annual report.

"There is a disconnect between traditional IT and the CEO," said Colony, opening the Forrester Forum in Portugal today, and he added: "It doesn't really matter."

The traditional approach to IT is where business units "drop projects" on the IT department, which struggles to keep pace with demand and to deliver.

"This is not a world where the CEO can add value," said Colony.

Promoting Forrester's concept of Business Technology, Colony said that if an organisation focussed on 10 to 15 capabilities, rather than hundreds of IT projects, the CEO could and should be involved.

"To do this CEOs needed to have a clear high level direction for the company," said Colony. "This may sound obvious, but is often not delivered."

CEOs then need to push technology group and business together - get out of project and build capabilities and catalyse change in relationship.

For CIOs this means "getting in on the game", said Colony. "You are no longer an order taker; you are working with the business to set priorities.

"The CIO needs to bring best practice to the table, say what will and what will not work and which capabilities can really transform organisations."

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