More a necessary evil…
Compliance won't be a boon to the IT industry - on the vendor or user side.
silicon.com's latest CIO Jury of 12 individuals has returned eight answers of 'No' and four of 'Yes' to the question Have compliance projects (addressing Sarbanes-Oxley, Basel II, IAS and so on) allowed you to roll out additional technology, including that for which it would have been hard to get separate sign-off?
The two-to-one snapshot against what one respondent called the "Trojan horse" approach to IT spend is perhaps understandable given the strict conditions some of the users polled must operate against.
JP Rangaswami, Global CIO at investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort Wassertein, qualified his answer by saying: "Waving compliance banners went out of vogue after EMU and Year 2000."
Meanwhile David Curd, IT and operations director at Barclaycard, is even more negative.
"These regulatory requirements will divert resources and funding from mainstream business projects and could slow down the roll out of other technology," he said.
Among those that said Yes was Phil Pavitt, CIO at Nasdaq-listed cable operator NTL.
He said: "Without Sarbanes-Oxley many of the audit management smaller systems that we wanted to introduce would not have passed the business case."
NTL is in the process of overhauling some of its back-end systems, consolidating on a single platform to improve its front line operations.
Compliance has become a major issue in IT departments as they are at the centre of organisations making sure their data and processes are squeaky clean following scandals at companies such as Enron, WorldCom and more recently Parmalat.
Added DrKW's Rangaswami: "What happened to IT budgets and governance since 2001 is no blip. With budgets very much dependent on revenue growth, the process of getting new projects authorised has been made more stringent."
These IT heads and most of the other members of this one-off CIO Jury will be at the BusinessWeek/ETF CIO discussion evening to be held in London this week.
Today's CIO Jury was…
David Curd, IT and Operations Director, Barclaycard
Bill Gibbons, CIO, Abbey Group
Tom Hankinson, chairman, Appligenics
Kevin Lloyd, CTO, Barclays
Patrick McConnell, Head of Implementation-Information Systems, Vodafone
Dennis Mortensen, CIO, eOffice
Phil Pavitt, CIO, NTL
Stephen Pownall, CIO, Pilkington
JP Rangaswami, Global CIO, Dresdner Kleinwort Wassertein
Gordon Ross, CEO, Infocube
Margaret Smith, Director Business Information Systems, Legal & General
Jane Tozer, 3i Technology Trust