Non-tech execs break IT's grip on enterprise project purse strings

With the balance of power between IT and the business shifting, new research spells out some aspects of that change.

IT departments no longer fund most enterprise technology projects - and to add insult to injury almost one in 10 of the technical staff employed in businesses now works outside IT.

Some 61 percent of company tech initiatives are financed by other businesses functions, with marketing leading the way, according to research firm IDC.

IDC senior vice president Meredith Whalen said business managers have become more skilled with technology and have easier access to it through the cloud.

"[Because they] are under pressure to implement new technology initiatives more quickly, it's not surprising that line-of-business executives are spearheading more IT projects," Whalen said in a statement.

Marketing departments have an annual compound growth rate over a five-year period for technology spending of more than nine percent.

Cloud changing business processes

Cloud services, big-data analytics, mobile computing, and social networking are fundamentally changing business processes and in some cases business models, Whalen said.

"With such high stakes, the business is increasingly taking a front seat in technology initiatives," she said.

The IDC research study of 1,200 line-of-business executives found that their departments are looking increasingly like an extension of IT, with on average eight percent of their personnel employed in technical roles.

However, although the sources of technology funding and staffing may be changing, the influence of the IT department is not necessarily in decline.

Some 85 percent of respondents in the IDC study say IT is becoming a more valuable partner to their functional area than it was three years ago. 


Toby Wolpe is a senior reporter at TechRepublic in London. He started in technology journalism when the Apple II was state of the art.


A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Whilst the business may be demanding accelerated delivery of applications (which is a good thing), delivery still needs expert planning to ensure everything integrates together.


It's a good and bad thing. The problem with survey results like IDC is that they count on the respondents answers for their information. I would be willing to bank that a growing number of business leaders THINK of themselves as having 'mad 3lit3 IT haxxor skillz', but end up knowing just enough to get them into trouble. The rise in ITs' value' to them increasing is a bit of a surprise, because these internal projects usually end up getting into trouble very quickly, and IT staff are then ordered to drop what they're doing and save that business leader's collective behind. The business leader then usually ends up with all the credit, though. It'd a very unplanned and knee-jerk way to do business, as opposed to the careful planning IT departments usually undertake.

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