by Laurianne McLaughlin

IT Leaders Take Too Many Cues From Wall Street, Study Says

Jan 17, 20083 mins
IT Leadership

CIOs need to worry less about Wall Street observers and worry more about end users who want IT to pull the plug on outdated systems and applications, new Accenture research says.

CIOs seeking applause from Wall Street continue to widen the rift with end users who feel they have better technology at home than at work, according to a new Accenture study released this week.

IT leaders remain too focused on tweaking existing systems rather than making the large changes that users desire, according to the Accenture study, which queried the senior-most IT executive at nearly 300 Fortune 1000 companies in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and South America.

“CEOs and CIOs must decide between offering technology-literate customers new products and services that are truly unique, versus receiving a short round of applause from investment fund managers for holding the line on spending,” says Bob Suh, chief technology strategist, Accenture, in a press release on the study.

Accenture’s research further concludes that “the chasm between Wall Street and Main Street is wide and deep, with little evidence that companies and organizations are working to close it.”

Some highlights from the research:

Life support costs you: IT teams spend 40 percent of their time on existing systems—and that percentage has barely changed since July, 2005, the last time Accenture did its global IT study. Too many legacy systems remain on life support, Accenture says.

Automation nation? Not quite: How much work are you conducting online and processing automatically? On average, just 22 percent of customer interactions, 19 percent of supplier interactions and 33 percent of employee interactions, Accenture finds.

Customer focus needs work: For all the IT shop talk about being customer-centric, Accenture finds that just 11 percent of information system interfaces focus on the customer. Furthermore, a whopping 80 percent of respondents fail to gather very detailed customer information and 84 percent don’t make that data very accessible to decision makers and line staff.

Slow Going on Web 2.0: Just a fraction of respondents say they are looking seriously at collaboration tools such as wikis for knowledge workers. Thirty-five percent are “committing mobile applications to a major part of their business.”

SOA Key in Best IT Shops: IT shops that Accenture labels “high performers,” (consistently outperforming their peers in revenue, profit growth and total shareholder return) lead the way in legacy integration using Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). Composite apps built using SOA make up 38 percent of high performers’ application portfolio; 45 percent of new application functionalities are based on use and reuse of existing services.

Operations Excellence: High performer IT shops spend an average of 19 percent less time than their peers on routine operations work.

Out With the Old: High performers have ditched the most legacy baggage and use the youngest set of applications. More than two-thirds of high performers report they seek non-traditional alternatives for externally facing applications such as sales and customer services. More than one-third say they’ll look for on-demand/SaaS apps for supply chain & distribution, research & development, human resources, finance and accounting.