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CA World: Cranfield looks into IT management

Research effort launched to convince CIOs that IT management is an asset not another burden.

Boffins at the Cranfield School of Management will next month embark on the second phase of a mammoth research effort to better understand and convey to decision makers the business value and associated risks of technology.

The results of the study, which kicked off in September and involves working with others from the worlds of business and academia, will be published next year.

"Organisations have been very good at implementing the technology but very, very weak at implementing the necessary business changes through which the benefits will ultimately flow," said Joe Peppard, professor of information systems at Cranfield University's School of Management.

"One of the objectives I've set this project is to create a new pair of glasses so I can give them to an executive team and they can begin to see the IT infrastructure in quite a different way. Executive managers and, indeed, CIOs don't have the vocabulary or tools to have a business value oriented conversation about the infrastructure. That is one of the key objectives of this research."

Given that companies can spend anywhere between two and 10 per cent of their turnover on technology, it is startling that many still view this asset as just another cost.

That in mind, this research will bridge the gap created by previous studies by technologists and business schools and offer up best practice case studies that act as benchmarks of IT value, according to Peppard.

It may be stating the obvious, but it's more important now than ever that companies understand the correlation between IT and success in addition to the impact of investment or, conversely, shaving costs from the wrong areas.

So says CA who chose the eve of CA World, its annual user conference in Las Vegas, to announce that its labs arm is backing Cranfield's research programme.

"[Today, we're faced with] a less secure environment that is much more unstable and fragile. During that period a mistake which was recoverable in a normal environment say a few months or a year ago - could kill a company right now," said Patrick Starck, CA's corporate vice president and general manager of Europe, the Middle East and Europe (EMEA).

"The winners at the end of this crisis will be the companies that have anticipated and prepared for their futures by making the right investment. But, reducing cost does not just mean laying people off and closing sites. It means re-engineering some of your processes and looking at how you operate from your suppliers to your end users."

Click here to read more coverage from CA World 08.

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