Valuable Insights From McKinsey Into the Role of IT in Strategy and More

Norman Marks, CRMA, CPA, is a vice president for SAP and has been a chief audit executive and chief risk officer at major global corporations for more than 20 years.


I found some striking and heartening points, as well as some surprising and disappointing points, in the latest technology survey from McKinsey & Company.

On the positive side were:

  • Aspirations — and current expectations — for IT have never been higher. Executives continue to set exacting demands for IT support of business processes, and they see an even larger role for IT in a competitive environment increasingly shaken up by technology disruptions.

  • Looking ahead, executives expect IT to create new platforms to support innovation and growth, help guide strategy with data and advanced analytics, and stay on top of possible new roles for mobile devices.
  • For IT leaders, the good news is that along with these higher expectations, most respondents also see a greater willingness to spend more on IT.

I was surprised at the conservative attitude, compared to business executives, of those managing IT. For example:

  •  Reducing IT costs was the #1 priority for IT managers, #5 for executives outside IT.

  • Only 26% of non-IT executives said that those responsible for IT were proactively engaging on new ideas or system enhancements.

I was pleased by the focus on "big data" and analytics, and on mobile as a way to interact with customers, but disappointed that executives felt the board was not a sufficient advocate for technology as an enabler and part of corporate strategy. The report says that the board has “misaligned priorities.” 

I recommend reading and sharing this report with executives and board members at your organization. 

A note for internal auditors: this report identifies a potential IT governance issue — if the priorities of those responsible for IT are out of sync with those of the business.

I welcome your comments.



Posted on Jan 2, 2012 by Norman Marks

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