Senior IT staff in the UK believe they spend too little time on strategic issues and developing competitive advantage because they're too burdened by operational and human resource issues. The Cambridge Information Network, an on-line forum open only to senior IT executives, surveyed 100 of its members by Email and found that the vast majority want to help drive strategy and innovation rather than be overwhelmed by the day-to-day operations of the IT department. Three-quarters said their number one ambition was to switch their focus away from the daily problems, which often accounted for more than half their time. This would enable them to achieve their top goal of getting technology to better support the business. The dominant concern of 93% of those questioned was retaining and recruiting staff, with the other really significant concern for 76% being the selection of the right technology partners. Surprisingly, the usual focuses of concern were not highlighted in this survey, including Year 2000, outsourcing and European integration. Confirmation of the shift in attitude of senior IT executives came from the Gartner Group research firm, which recently reported that the role of the IT director is becoming increasingly strategic and integrated with business strategy and less in the management of the IT operation. Instead, many companies are appointing a chief technology officer for this role.
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