Executives: IT More Important than Ever

Survey by the BPM Forum, webMethods finds growing competitive, customer and regulatory pressures driving demand to create a more "alert enterprise"


* Business Process Adaptability — Business executives indicate that rapid changes in customer preferences, competitive pressures, new product and revenue opportunities, increased regulatory requirements, and the need for greater operational efficiency all drive the need to redesign business processes and create new applications. Unfortunately, they also report that an average of 40 percent of all core business processes are in need of some kind of IT fix. Larger companies report that this number is 45 percent with slightly more than a quarter of these respondents indicating that more than 60 percent of their core processes are broken and in need of IT repair.

* IT Matters More Than Ever — Contradicting industry pundit Nicholas Carr, these executives argue that IT matters more than ever. Some two-thirds of all respondents, and more than three-quarters from larger companies with revenues above $500 million, said IT plays an important role in creating market differentiation. Only about 10 percent of respondents — and 5 percent among larger companies — said IT was "not very important" to market differentiation.

* Problems With Keeping Pace — In regard to actual performance, respondents indicate that their IT departments were challenged in meeting these expectations. In fact, among larger companies with revenues above $500 million, some 45 percent of respondents say their IT organizations are either having "significant difficulties" or "can't keep up at all."

* What Executives Want From IT — Executives want IT to be more strategic in its thinking and more integrated in its approaches. Specifically, participants indicate that their IT Dream Team would be: 1) flexible and responsive in delivering applications, 2) performance-driven and outcome-oriented, 3) understanding of strategic business needs, and 4) a leader in taking the initiative to bring new ideas to the table.

* Plans for SOA — There is a significant sentiment among business executives that service-oriented architecture (SOA) will become a critical enabler of the Alert Enterprise with 64 percent of larger company executives concurring with this point. While few companies are far along in implementation, a high percentage is at least in discussions. Only about 14 percent of respondents, 7 percent among large companies with revenues above $500 million, say they have no plans to implement SOA.

"The Alert Enterprise Audit indicates there is still a significant gulf between the expectations of business executives and the capacity of IT departments to keep up with demand," said Dave Murray, a BPM Forum executive and co-author of the report. "Closing the gap is an essential requirement for becoming an Alert Enterprise."

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