IT departments more important than ever to the strategic direction of UK businesses

The research, which surveyed 300 IT directors and 300 non-IT business leaders, found that IT is now recognised as a strategic priority (86 per cent) at board level, with the IT teams now expected to think about the bigger picture (88 per cent). 

This comes at a time when the IT department is also expected to manage increasingly complex technology and communications estate, becoming a key driver in business performance.

The rapid pace of technological change is one of the main reasons for the shift in fortunes of the IT department. IT is now seen as a key part of organisational innovation and transformation, rather than just being viewed as a tool for reducing costs and remaining competitive. 

Nearly nine out of ten respondents stated that IT is now an important enabler of change and three quarters said that it has changed the nature of the competition they face.

However, despite their newfound importance, many IT Directors and CIOs are failing to live up to these expectations in the eyes of the rest of the business. Over one third of non-IT directors think that their IT counterparts need to hone their communication skills (39 per cent) and communicate effectively with other functions (35 per cent).

Some heads of IT are also struggling to keep pace with this rapid change of responsibility, with 63 per cent worrying about remaining up-to-date with their knowledge of technology. 

With a new generation of digital natives bringing their own devices into the workplace (BYOD), security remains a live issue for many, with 59 per cent reporting that they are worried about increased and more complicated security risks.

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