Canadian IT Managers question the future

A survey of Canadian IT professionals and business professionals has revealed the increasing convergence of IT and business is a major concern for both groups.

The future role of IT in business is the overall primary area of interest for the 2,000 IT and business professionals surveyed by Stamford-Conn.-based research firm Gartner Inc. Seventy per cent of the survey subjects were from the IT field and the remaining 30 per cent were business professionals.

“It makes a lot of sense that it should be their number one priority,” said Gartner vice-president Bob Hafner. “IT was originally cost control; now, it’s revenue generating. We do online banking. We do financial transactions online.”

Hafner said IT and business professionals are increasingly asking questions like, “How do I change my business processes so that IT is more a part of it?” and “How do I make my business better by using IT?”

The next most popular area of interest among those surveyed was e-business infrastructure and architecture issues. Hafner said these include concerns like what is needed to build e-business applications and what infrastructure is needed to accommodate them.

Gartner regularly surveys IT professionals on their concerns and Hafner said this the first time e-business matters have topped the list.

“If you go back a few years, it was the year 2000,” Hafner said, referring to the Y2K computer bug. “It was ‘How do I keep my business in business after year 2000?'”

Rounding out the top five concerns are security and privacy issues, which Hafner said he was surprised did not appear closer to the top of the list, mobile and wireless technology and customer relationship management technology. Gartner will be addressing these issues as part of its inaugural Canadian Symposium and Itxpo which is scheduled to take place in Toronto in Sept. 5-7.

Charles Wordsworth, national vice-president of the Canadian Information Processing Society, said the top five responses of the Gartner survey are similar to his assessments of the interests of IT professionals. However, he said though the most pressing concern of technology workers is really how these five areas are becoming more interrelated.

“It’s a combination as to how we do all these things together . . . how they work together seamlessly,” he said. “All these things are converging.”

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