SA's ICT strategy investments fall short

Johannesburg, 26 Mar 2012
Read time 2min 40sec

South African organisations lag behind the rest of the world when it comes to refreshing ICT strategies to ensure technology is always aligned with business needs.

This is according to technology services and consulting company Accenture, which notes that leading practice is that an organisation's IT strategy should be refreshed every year.

South African organisations typically review their IT strategies every three to five years, which may be considered as a “significant under-investment”, says Lee Naik, executive director for IT strategy and transformation at Accenture.

To obtain a view of the current challenges facing local CIOs, as well as the adoption of new sourcing and technology trends in IT, ITWeb and Accenture today unveiled the ICT Strategy Survey.

“An ICT strategy provides the linkage between IT investment and business value. By taking a comprehensive view of the business strategy, the IT capability and technology assets, the IT strategy provides a common understanding of the direction IT must take to enable the business,” Naik says.

He notes that, typically, South African companies have lagged behind the rest of the world in the adoption of IT trends and new technologies.

“Access to skills and insufficient infrastructure are typically cited as the factors contributing to the slow rate of adoption. However, Accenture believes these barriers are being removed through the availability of new IT models such as cloud computing and offshoring.”

Therefore, he explains, the ICT Strategy Survey is intended to provide a view of the level of adoption and the plans local businesses have to implement these new models and technologies as well as the key business drivers behind these plans.

Naik believes the local CIO is faced with a difficult balancing act of reducing IT costs while investing in new technologies and infrastructure to enable business expansion in areas such as new IT-enabled products as well as geographic expansion into Africa.

He also points out that while South African businesses tend to lag established markets in the adoption of new IT solutions, this presents an opportunity for local CIOs to leapfrog the learning curve that other organisations have undergone and selectively adopt technologies that have proven themselves in other markets.

Highlighting the local trends regarding ICT strategy, Naik says that, over the last few years, the focus has been on cost-saving initiatives as well as trends that promise both cost reduction and improved service delivery.

“These trends include multi-vendor outsourcing, virtualisation and, more recently, cloud computing. In addition, organisations are also looking to deal with legacy applications and are looking at opportunities to deal with complexity and to simplify the technology landscape.”

He also points out that enterprise architecture is one of the ways in which organisations are addressing these issues - with medium to large organisations showing the most interest and investment in this area.

Click here to complete the survey.

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