Research argues IT hasn’t shrugged off cost cutting reputation yet

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

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The divide between the IT and line of business departments, and the role of the IT department today, has frequently come in for scrutiny. Yet according to new research from Claranet, the role of IT continues to be one of cost cutting.

The survey, which polled 900 IT leaders across Europe, found almost half (46%) identify cost reduction as a core function for IT today, a number which has risen sharply from 34% the previous year. In terms of other priorities, revenue generation as an important role for IT to play was only cited by 29% of respondents, while only a quarter (25%) said they should help increase customer loyalty.

Not surprisingly, Claranet argues the need for a managed service provider to deal with the imbroglio between business and IT. “Any business looking to digitally transform their processes must have the right partners and suppliers in place to carry out those standard tasks universal to IT departments. By working with a managed service provider, CIOs can effectively outsource this work and spend more time working on strategy and revenue generating activities,” said Michel Robert, Claranet UK managing director.

“It is clear from the data that the focus on cost reduction and ‘keeping the lights on’ we witnessed in last year’s report has been maintained and, for many, has actually increased,” he added. “It goes without saying that costs are important, but it’s critical that IT departments can reposition themselves internally as enablers of business agility and innovation, rather than as cost centres.”

The position of IT as more of a traditional berth in keeping the lights on does appear somewhat out of date when factoring the maturation of the cloud market – but some old habits die hard. A recent study from 451 Research argues colocation, usually considered dead in the water with the rise of more affordable data centres, as the “nexus” of cloud and enterprise IT.

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