IDC Survey Reveals What Business Managers Want From IT

MILAN, July 17, 2007 — According to a new IDC study, business managers spend a significant amount of time on IT support for their business operations and believe it to have an important role in company innovation.

Drawing on the results of IDC’s European Vertical Market Survey, carried out in January 2007 in the top 5 Western European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the U.K.) among 413 companies with more than 20 employees, the study analyzes vertical market business managers’ views on IT strategies and the role of IT in their organization.

“While business managers are quite satisfied with their IT managers, they have clear priorities in mind on how IT could better support their business and strategic objectives. These priorities are extremely different from vertical to vertical and seldom include cost-cutting among the top issues. Business managers see their internal IT capabilities as needing the highest attention, underlining that IT vendors need to further improve their communication and marketing strategies,” said Angela Vacca, consulting manager, European Vertical Markets.

Focusing on the role of IT managers the study shows that:

  • The majority of business managers (64%) spend a significant amount of time on IT to support business operations. Sectors where the IT component of the business is the highest are those where the collaboration between business and IT managers is the greatest. In the transport/communications/utilities sector more than half of business managers spend more than 25% of their time dealing with IT. In the manufacturing sector this increases to higher than 40%.
  • IT managers have helped almost 70% of business managers in the innovation of the company. Verticals are strongly homogeneous on this assessment. The only vertical with a percentage lower than 50% is healthcare.
  • Around 20% of companies consider IT managers to be initiators of new business strategies. For the majority of respondents they have a role as participants of the projects (40%) and as implementers of them (20%). Government is the sector where IDC found the highest percentage. The development of new business strategies is still a top executive’s domain. However, all sectors consider the IT knowledge of business managers to be extremely important. The distinction between business and IT skills appears to be becoming increasingly blurred.
  • Business managers are much more interested in the efficacy (to satisfy business requirements) of IT management than in its efficiency (increasing worker productivity). The most important criteria to assess the quality of IT management are its availability (business continuity) and user satisfaction (employees and customers).
    * Almost 60% of business managers interviewed would like to see their companies investing more in in-house IT. This can be read both in the context of limited resources assigned to IT departments or as a signal of a limited intimacy of IT players with business managers.

Business managers are quite satisfied with their CIOs. The most important message that they want to impart to their IT people is a positive one. The negative message with the highest score is the issue of IT support needing improvement.

The study, What Business Managers Want (From IT): An IDC Western European Vertical Market Survey, 2007 (IDC #M02P, July 2007), is based on the results of IDC’s Western European Line of Business Survey, and provides more details on factors including the relevance of IT senior managers in the company’s ability to innovate and to develop new business strategies, the importance of business managers’ IT knowledge, and the attitude towards future use of IT. Results are given for total Western Europe by vertical market.

To purchase this document, please contact your local IDC office or visit

Tags: ,