Analysts at Gartner have urged IT managers and directors to communicate more efficiently, especially when it comes to discussing risk and return.
Richard Hunter, group vice president and Gartner fellow, and George Westerman, research scientist at the MIT Center for Information Systems Research, said that good leaders can increase the importance of IT systems at their firms, but only if they are able to discuss and display the benefits in a clear manner.
"If the economic meltdown of 2008 shows us anything, it's that you can't talk about return without talking about risk," said Hunter during a speech at the Gartner Symposium in Cannes.
"Over five years of joint research have shown us three things: companies that communicate effectively about IT value create more value; companies that communicate effectively about IT risk reduce business risks; and chief information officers who communicate about risk and return in terms of business outcomes and performance find it easier to achieve an effective balance."
Hunter and Westerman are the authors of a book on the subject, The Real Business of IT: How CIOs Create and Communicate Value, in which they discuss four ways that IT leaders can change the way they work for the better:
Monday Morning involves training the individual to better communicate risks and return in real business terms, and in relation to outcomes and performance.
Next Week involves identifying future opportunities for improving the infrastructure, applications, skills and IT management processes of the firm, and especially their value for money.
Next Month takes this a little further, urging the individual to look at what the next business cycle might involve, and assess which would be least capable of improving solutions.
Next Year suggests that IT directors analyse those apparently high-risk opportunities, urging them to identify those that "your highly capable organisation can handle, and competitors can't".
"Many general managers and chief financial officers believe that their organisations spend too much on IT, or wish that they could get better returns from their IT investments," said Westerman.
"However this 'cost mindset' results, at least in part, from an inability of IT and business leaders to communicate in a common language about IT value and risk."
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