IT Value Remains Elusive

In a previous post, I discussed the US results of a short ISACA survey – which I helped to create – around “Value of IT Investments”. The global results have now been released.  The nine-country survey of 1,217 IT professionals reveals that while enterprises worldwide believe they are realizing value from their IT investments, it is difficult to understand how they can be sure as fewer than half of the respondents believe that there is a shared understanding of what constitutes value across their enterprise, and two-thirds don’t have a comprehensive approach to measuring value from those investments with 10% not measuring it at all.

The survey also showed a lack of business accountability for value from the use of IT in that 49 percent of respondents stated that the CIO or IT managers are responsible for ensuring that stakeholder returns on such investments are optimized. Only 15 percent said responsibility lies with the board, 11 percent the CEO and 9 percent the CFO. Remarkably, 8 percent said no one was responsible.

The results  raise the question, ‘On what basis are spending decisions made?’ Enterprises that do not have clear business accountability for the realization of value from their increasingly significant and complex IT-related investments, and do not fully measure value are unable to determine which investments to undertake, which are successful, which require corrective action, and which need to be  cut—and thereby are likely to miss out on revenue-generating opportunities, pursue unsuccessful investments and miss opportunities to gain competitive advantage.

These findings support the results of a number of other studies, anecdotal evidence and my own experience that most decisions related to value from IT are subjective, and all too often are based on perception and emotion rather than on facts. Organizations will not come close to realizing the full value of their IT investments until they adopt effective value management practices – such as those contained in the Val IT ™ framework – and assign accountability for the realization of value from those investments to the board and CEO, rather than abdicating it to the CIO.

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