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DiData Forum 12 Delegates Say IT Does Matter

  • 20 August, 2003 13:13

<p>According to Nicholas G. Carr in his article entitled ‘IT Doesn’t Matter’ (Harvard Business Review, May 2003), “IT has become a commodity. Affordable and accessible to everyone, it no longer offers strategic value to anyone.”</p>
<p>Well, according to delegates at this year’s Dimension Data Forum 12 IT does matter!</p>
<p>The online survey of 115 end-user delegates at Dimension Data Australia’s Forum 12 conference in Queensland (14-18 August 2003), IT is extremely important to an organisation’s productivity and performance levels. However, only 29 per cent of delegates indicated they are planning to increase IT spend, with the majority of respondents intending to either decrease or maintain their IT spend for FY 2003-04 compared with actual spending in FY 2002-03.</p>
<p>The survey also drew statistics on the need to reduce costs and maximise existing investments whilst also looking at the key drivers for any new investments that may occur such as the need to upgrade security and storage.</p>
<p>Scott Petty, COO, Dimension Data, is available for comment on the survey, as are several end-users who completed the survey.</p>
<p>Please don’t hesitate to contact Elizabeth Dawson or Kate Andrews on (02) 9904 4533 if you would like to set up any interviews or if you would like a copy of the research or photography of Scott Petty.</p>
<p>IT KEY TO ENHANCING PRODUCTIVITY AND PERFORMANCE</p>
<p>-Dimension Data provides an insight into attitudes towards IT-</p>
<p>Sydney, 20 August 2003 – According to a survey of delegates at Dimension Data Australia’s annual user conference, Forum 12 in Queensland (14-18 August 2003), IT is extremely important to an organisation’s productivity and performance levels. However, only 29 per cent of delegates indicated they are planning to increase IT spend, with the majority of respondents (65 per cent) intending to either decrease or maintain their IT spend for FY 2003-04 compared with actual spending in FY 2002-03.</p>
<p>The Dimension Data survey provides an insight into the attitudes of 115 Australian Forum delegates towards information technology. Respondents comprised CIOs, CTOs, IT managers, business managers and technical specialists from a variety of industry sectors including: government; banking and finance; manufacturing; telecommunications; education; and service organisations.</p>
<p>Respondents rated the importance of IT to the productivity and performance of an organisation as 4.3 out of 5 (where 5 is the most important).</p>
<p>“Given this result, one would expect IT to be having a pretty good time of it lately,” said Scott Petty, Dimension Data’s Chief Operating Officer. “Surely something that is so important to organisational productivity and performance would justify high and sustained investment to ensure the benefits were realised. However the truth appears to be a little different from that.”</p>
<p>The research revealed that for those companies where planned spend was less, it would be down by an average of 16 per cent, while for those companies where planned spend was higher, it would be up by an average of 27 per cent.</p>
<p>According to Mr Petty, these results highlight a very important issue for CIOs: “Increased scrutiny and improved governance is having a massive effect on the CIO’s ability to get spending projects approved – even if they are budgeted for. This is a discipline that IT organisations are typically not accustomed to.</p>
<p>“The challenge for any CIO is to adjust to this new world and run IT accordingly. If we are to loosen the vice like grip on funds then we must show and deliver true business value.”</p>
<p>New IT Investments
The survey discovered that the majority (80 per cent) of organisations are spending between 10 to 30 per cent of their IT budgets on new IT investments. Over half (55 per cent) of respondents are investing less than 20 per cent of their IT budget on new IT investments.</p>
<p>“And herein lies the paradox,” said Mr Petty. “The business sees value for assisting organisational improvement and change, yet we spend the vast majority of our IT budgets on just keeping what we have running. The challenge is how to reduce the operational spend to increase investment without asking for money. The critical goal for IT has to be to define measures that accurately reflect the impact of IT on the business.”</p>
<p>Reduce Costs and Maximise Existing Investment
Overwhelmingly, the need to reduce costs (68 per cent) and maximise existing investments (50 per cent) are the key focus for new IT investments. Other business drivers for new investments were: the need to refresh technology (45 per cent); the need to improve internal and external communications (30 per cent); customer pressure (22 per cent); lack of business and IT alignment (21 per cent) and global standards (14 per cent).</p>
<p>“It appears that while IT is critical to improving organisational productivity and performance, there is a price point that organisations can afford – and, for many, IT is already above that point. The key is not how much you spend but rather how you spend it that is important. It is all about execution not theory. Our challenge in IT is to run the ‘plumbing’ as efficiently as we can. There are systems and functions that do provide competitive advantage – equally we have to find these and execute on programs that deliver that,” said Mr Petty.</p>
<p>When asked about the importance of specific IT areas to the productivity and performance of their business over the next 12 months, security rated the highest – 4.1 (with 5 being the highest). This was closely followed by infrastructure architecture (3.9); data management (3.8); infrastructure consolidation (3.6); operational support (3.6); application integration (3.4); mobility (3.3); staff self-service (3.2); single customer view (3.1); customer self-service (3.1) and media convergence (2.7).</p>
<p>Main IT Concerns
Aligned with this, organisations’ biggest current IT concerns are security (57 per cent); cost reduction (56 per cent); servers and storage (55 per cent); networking upgrades (35 per cent); OS migration (34 per cent); data management (33 per cent); application integration (33 per cent); web technologies (32 per cent); staff management (23 per cent) and enterprise software (10 per cent).</p>
<p>“Successful IT investments need to be measured in terms of business gain, not technical gain. Measuring this gain just in terms of productivity statistics is too narrow – performance parameters, such as accessibility, utilisation, communication and security, are also critical,” said Scott Petty.</p>
<p>When asked which technologies organisations have established enterprise-wide standards for, the research revealed the following: desktop operating environment (77 per cent); WAN technologies (75 per cent); LAN technologies (71 per cent); server operating environment (65 per cent); remote access (65 per cent); messaging (62 per cent); information security (54 per cent); network management (49 per cent); information storage (45 per cent); information portals (15 per cent); application integration (18 per cent); eCommerce (18 per cent); identity management (23 per cent) and contact centre environment (28 per cent).</p>
<p>The survey also revealed that on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being high), respondents said their overall IT architecture is well defined and understood (5.9), C-level executives are enthusiastic users of applications and technology (5.6); CEOs consider IT vital to success (5.4); IT is recognised as a source of business innovation (5.2); business owners understand the organisation’s IT vision (4.3); their organisation experiments with new, unproven technologies (4.5); differing levels within an organisation are on the same page with IT (4.3) and they have a well defined technology refresh program (5.1).</p>
<p>- ends -</p>
<p>About Dimension Data
Dimension Data Holdings plc (LSE: DDT) is a leading global technology services company. It specialises in providing IT solutions that enable businesses to operate seamlessly across Application Networks (the result of the convergence of two previous separate areas of IT: application integration and network infrastructure.)</p>
<p>The Group’s ability to offer expertise in networking, application integration and global managed services makes it uniquely positioned to deliver the IT solutions required by businesses to connect devices, information, applications, business processes, people and organisations.</p>
<p>Dimension Data, founded in 1983, had revenues of $2.5 billion in 2001 and operates in 30+ countries with over 9,500 employees.</p>
<p>About Dimension Data Forum 12
Dimension Data Forum is a unique event that is widely recognised as the most important business and technology event on the Australian IT calendar. In its twelfth year, this year’s Forum took place from 14 - 18 August at The Hyatt Regency in Coolum, Queensland, and attracted Australia’s top end users and vendor representatives. Forum 12 brought together an impressive array of industry vendors, including: Cisco Systems; Microsoft; Sun Microsystems; Telstra; EMC; Intel; APC; Check Point; Citrix; Concord; Forrester; Fuji Xerox; Genesys; KVS; Nortel Networks; Packeteer; and Verint. This year’s Forum, themed ‘Productivity and Performance’ featured high profile keynote speakers, combined with a broad range of business solution and technical sessions. Some of the topics for this year’s event included: trends in data and network services; managed environments; identity management and security policies; voice, video, data and storage consolidation; information portals; server virtualisation and mobility.</p>

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