Rachel Barere
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July 05, 2006
Accenture Survey of IT and General Business Executives Identifies Ways for CIOs to Enhance Influence

Greater Alignment of IT and Business Management May Hold the Key to Change

NEW YORK; July 5, 2006 – In order for chief information officers (CIO) to wield more influence within their organizations, there must be a greater alignment of the IT function and the business, according to a survey of information technology (IT) executives and general business managers released today by Accenture.

Survey respondents — 300 IT executives and general business managers in U.S. companies with annual revenues of more than $1 billion — also believe the IT function must be able to clearly demonstrate its business value in order for the CIO’s influence to grow.

“Achieving these goals will require some major changes not only in perception, but in corporate business practices as well,” said Gary Curtis, managing director of Accenture’s Strategic IT Effectiveness practice. “For a company to be a high-performing business, it cannot continue with a 20th century mentality that limits IT to a support role. In leading companies, general business management collaborates with the CIO, and management views the CIO as a strategic business leader who can leverage IT and demonstrate its contribution to the bottom line.”

The survey found IT executives and general business managers agree on the function of the IT organization. When asked to identify the most important roles for a company’s IT organization, the three selected most often were “to create competitive advantage,” ”to help improve business performance” and “to help operate business processes effectively,” with each selected by 60 percent of all respondents and split fairly evenly between IT executives and general business managers.

While both groups of executives agreed on what the role of the IT function ought to be, they did not agree on what role it actually plays. Half (50 percent) of the IT executives said they “completely agree” that IT makes a major contribution to their company’s ability to effectively compete in the marketplace, compared with only 30 percent of general business managers.

The most glaring difference of opinion between IT executives and general business managers was on how well IT executives understand their company’s business. While 73 percent of IT executives said they believe they understand their company’s business extremely or very well, only 43 percent of general business managers said they believe that IT executives have that level of understanding of the company’s business.

Ironically, when asked how well senior business managers understand how to leverage information technology, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of both the IT executives and general business mangers said “somewhat well” or “not very/not at all well.”

Survey Methodology
In early 2006, marketing research firm S. Radoff Associates, on behalf of Accenture, conducted an online survey of 300 IT executives and general business managers of U.S. corporations with at least $1 billion in annual revenues. Respondents were divided evenly between the two groups of executives and work in a mix of industries, with the exclusion of business/ consulting/ professional services, education, and non profit/trade associations.

About Accenture
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Committed to delivering innovation, Accenture collaborates with its clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With deep industry and business process expertise, broad global resources and a proven track record, Accenture can mobilize the right people, skills and technologies to help clients improve their performance. With more than 133,000 people in 48 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$15.55 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2005. Its home page is www.accenture.com.