March 27, 2014 - Rachel Miller
IT directors are playing an ever-greater role in the strategic direction of UK businesses, according to a new report by Vodafone UK.
The report, The New IT Crowd, surveyed 300 IT directors and 300 non-IT business leaders. It highlights the increasing importance of senior IT professionals in today's workplace.
According to the findings, 86% of business leaders say IT is a strategic priority at board level, 88% say they see IT as an important enabler of change, and three-quarters say IT has changed the nature of the competition they face.
Jonathan Kini, enterprise commercial marketing director at Vodafone UK, said: "Far from being the problem child of old, IT departments are now absolutely critical to the growth and strategic direction of businesses in the UK."
However, IT and communications are becoming increasingly complex and some firms are struggling to keep pace with change. The report finds that key concerns are staying up to date, security and 'bring-your-own-device' (BYOD). In addition, 88% of respondents say the IT team is now expected to think about the "bigger picture".
Many IT directors need to improve in the eyes of their colleagues. Over one third of non-IT directors think that their IT counterparts need to hone their communication skills (39%) and communicate effectively with other functions (35%). And 63% of IT heads say they worry about staying up to date.
With a new generation of staff bringing their own devices into the workplace, security also remains a live issue for 59% of respondents.
Jonathan Kini said: "The research points to a new generation of IT professionals who are a powerful, multi-faceted breed, thinking ahead, thinking bigger. For some, this will be second nature, for others it will take some time to get there. Collaborating across functions and with other organisations – whether it is suppliers or customers – sharing knowledge and keeping on top of both business and IT developments will help develop this new mindset."