Prize survey

A survey suggests IT departments are still struggling to deliver business value.

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By  Eliot Beer Published  June 18, 2007

It's relatively rare for a vendor to come out with some genuinely interesting research - as opposed to the usual "Enterprise storage needs increasing exponentially - enterprise storage vendor" efforts.

But all credit to the guys at HP, they've produced something rather interesting, in conjunction with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The global survey of more than 1,000 IT professionals in large enterprises gives an insight into exactly how these businesses view IT internally, and what role the IT department plays in driving the business.

There'll be a full writeup in the next issue of ACN, but the headline news is the results are mixed. IT managers definitely see IT as being essential to the business, but evidence of late projects, poorly-defined scope and varying levels of blame for project failure all suggests the business and the IT department still don't know how to talk to each other.

The Middle East results were - well, frustrating to say the least. In a global survey Middle East respondents are never going to make up a huge proportion, but the EIU research includes just 25 regional enterprises, all from the UAE.

From the point of view of logistics, this is understandable for the surveyors. But from the point of view of regional enterprises - and publications - the small sample size makes analysis pretty meaningless. And certainly for an accurate reflection of the region, the absence of Saudi Arabia and Egypt is a crippling blow.

What the results did tell us, though, is that the UAE companies surveyed - each over US$250 million in size - had on the whole a better view of their business-IT relationship than the global trend would suggest.

Projects were late less often than in the US or the rest of EMEA, and the UAE respondents said they had a good understanding of defining projects to deliver real business results. In another area, the UAE enterprises said they were more likely to increase the IT budget than reduce the scope or deliver late, if a project was struggling - whether good or bad, this shows impressive access to additional funds for IT.

How much of this is down to the large size (and therefore the likely greater expertise) of the UAE companies, and how much is down to other factors is a matter for debate. But, it does show that there are companies in the region which are confident about their business-IT relationship, and which are delivering successful IT projects.

This is good news - and it's news we want to hear more of in the Middle East. This is, in fact, why we are running the ACN Arab Technology Awards this coming September - to identify these successful organisations, and recognise their achievement.

From the HP survey I've so shamelessly co-opted to promote the Awards, we know there are at least two dozen companies in the UAE alone delivering worthwhile IT projects - and so two dozen potential nominees for the Awards. This is a pattern I'm sure will be replicated across the region.

So to those companies which responded to the HP/EIU survey - we want to hear from you.

To those companies which are wishing they'd been contacted for the survey - we want to hear from you.

To any company which is succeeding in building its business with IT - we want to hear from you.

Nominations are now open for the Arab Technology Awards.

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