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Survey sez: Make my IT work better with my business goals

The most interesting result from the Society for Information Management (SIM) latest survey isn’t so much the fact that IT professionals want technology infrastructure to align better with their business goals, it was the dramatic increase in importance that the survey respondents placed on “IT strategic planning.”

SIM, which is prepping for its annual conference in November, released some of the results of its annual survey as a teaser for the meeting. The top IT Management Concern, as designated by the 300 respondents, was “IT and business alignment,” as it has been for the past five out of six years. The second most critical priority was “Build business skills in IT,” up from third place last year. One of the most interesting results for me, however, was the fact that “IT strategic planning” jumped into third place from an eighth place showing last year.

There are a couple of ways you could read this result.

First off, I see it as a positive indication that more companies consider technology to be integral for their business processes. If you’re a solution provider that offers value through business strategy and services, rather than in your ability to provide a specific piece of technology at the lowest conceivable transaction, this absolutely plays to your strengths. More in-house IT managers may be willing to speak your language, rather than focusing on procurement.

Ironically, a heightened focus on strategy also a good thing for the transaction-minded channel OR for those who are skilled in providing managed services. That’s because as IT managers focus more long-term planning that aligns with business needs, they need someone to help deal with their operational and organizational headaches.

Rounding out the Top 10 Management Concerns as named by the survey (4 through 10) were:

  • Attracting new IT professionals
  • Making better use of information
  • Manage change
  • Reduce the cost of doing business
  • Improve IT quality
  • Retaining IT professionals
  • Security and privacy

Heather Clancy is an award-winning business journalist and strategic communications consultant with SWOT Management Group. She can be reached at

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