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IT is taking its seat in the boardroom

IT is taking its seat in the boardroom

IT leaders are increasingly integral to business decision-making, but there is still a battle to be won against dated stereotypes of the IT support team

2011 has seen IT leaders become influential members of the c-suite, with greater involvement in driving businesses' commercial and strategic direction, according to data from Modis International [Modis], a global leader in IT recruitment.

Organisations have increased the number of IT personnel represented at board level (up 16.5% compared to 2010) and 24% say IT has achieved a higher executive profile, based on the research with senior IT decision-makers.

This influence reflects the changing role of IT at the top level of businesses. 46% of respondents say IT now plays a major part in defining business strategy - up from 26% last year. IT leaders in London and the South East are leading this development and typically have the greatest influence within their organisation.

The enhanced status of IT reflects a changing trend in the way the IT function is structured. Many organisations are now drawing a clear distinction between strategic initiatives and maintenance/operational support. As a result, companies are able to invest in IT developments which directly supp ort business objectives, while systems maintenance and infrastructure upgrades remain a casualty of the downturn.

IT's increasing business influence is now gaining recognition among colleagues, but its reputation is growing from a low starting point. IT heads believe they are perceived as a more invaluable service this year (rising to 14% in 2011 from 6% in 2010). Nonetheless, 13% still feel treated as pure technical specialists, not strategic advisers.

Commenting on the research, Jim Albert, managing director, Modis International, said:

"IT has gone through dramatic changes over the past year. There has been a significant shift: rather than the tactical view of the last few years that has been purely focused on cost reduction, IT is now seen to make a significant contribution to business strategy.

"Despite continuing economic concerns, businesses are reinvesting in strategic IT to support business growth. There will still be a battle to be won in 2012 to raise the reputation of IT across all levels of an organisation. This will come if IT professionals can demonstrate that IT is both an enabler and driver of change.

"As a result, hiring managers are no longer looking for those with pure technical skills and capabilities they need people who can help drive IT strategy forward. Vision, commercial awareness and leadership are attributes in demand."

The findings are from the State of the IT Market Report 2011, a survey of 250 senior IT decision makers (predominantly Directors and Heads of IT) from organisations around the UK of varying sizes and from a range of sector s. Respondents were asked a series of questions to gauge their view of the changing role of IT within their organisations.  The research follows a similar survey last year, from which comparisons have been drawn.


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