IT Under Pressure: McKinsey Global Survey Results

INN Breaking News, March 26, 2014

Naufal Khan and Johnson Sikes

Beyond these IT-specific challenges, executives identify some other areas for improvement on the business side. When asked how their companies carry out application development and maintenance projects, IT executives say their organizations tend to follow a traditional “waterfall” approach to their work on legacy systems and a more interactive, iterative approach for new development work. Further, these respondents indicate a desire to increase the share of work they do using iterative approaches but identify barriers to this change. The top barrier cited is a lack of business ownership, followed closely by managers lacking an understanding of when to use an iterative approach.


Looking ahead

  • Address talent from the top. As IT continues to evolve as an important strategic tool, the required skills and staff are becoming harder to find and retain, especially in areas such as analytics and next-generation infrastructure. The results suggest that companies could better meet these needs with a more attractive talent value proposition that spans culture and morale, compensation, and career development—issues requiring focused attention from IT leadership. CIOs must be more involved in developing a talent-friendly culture within their organizations to tackle current and future talent issues.
  • Increase business-side involvement. All executives must work to address critical gaps in IT by elevating knowledge in areas that span both the business and IT functions. According to the survey, there are three important areas for improvement: data and analytics, business-IT interactions, and approaches to development work. Given the current state of CIO influence, the task of bridging cross-functional gaps may fall disproportionately on non-IT leaders.
  • Balance competing demands. Steadily rising expectations for IT underscore how fraught the landscape is for CIOs. These leaders must find a way to fulfill roles that may be at odds with each other—managing the IT function while also leading technology-driven changes. To that end, increased use of approaches (such as iterative development processes) that can help CIOs meet both mandates and manage two-speed IT organizations will become evermore important.

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