Information: the next big challenge for business – Harnessing best practice in IS-driven value creation: 2009 map

The link between a company’s performance, the effectiveness with which it uses information, and the maturity of its IT function has been clearly established.
This CIGREF-Capgemini Consulting study, which draws partly on the work of Professor Donald Marchand from the IMD in Lausanne (one of Europe’s foremost executive development institutes and business schools) and partly on interviews with 490 CIOs from around the world, demonstrates the reality of the link between the maturity of the IT function, the efficiency with which the company uses its information, and its performance in terms of market share, profitability, innovation and reputation.

However, only 37% of companies think that the way they use their information, and their information systems, represents a competitive advantage. These are the companies where the IT function has reached a certain degree of maturity – one that enables it to look beyond the support function role and position itself as a partner to the firm’s business units.

The IT functions of these companies, whose status we have categorized as “Business Technology”, have adopted practices in line with their level of industrialization. They are also differentiated by their strong involvement in company strategy and in innovation. Indeed, in 71% of cases, the companies concerned say that they integrate the potential of the IS into the innovation process. These IT functions have structured themselves so that they can identify and implement the technological and organizational innovations that create more value for the company.

Finally, and this is their biggest strength, these companies have broken through the first barrier in the utilization of the company’s information capital. They have acknowledged the need for a style of management that encourages behaviors centered on collecting, sharing and updating information. They measure their performance using indicators that gauge the efficiency of their business processes. They have improved their ability to identify and promote managers and employees who have IT as well as operational skills.

The other companies’ IT functions are at intermediate stages of evolution.
Two other levels of maturity have been identified in the study. The “Service Center” IT functions, which represent 39% of the global sample (44% in France), are characterized by a customerprovider relationship between the operational staff and IT, with the latter delivering IT services according to specifications defined with the business units. These IT functions use technological innovation as a lever to develop their capacity as a service provider.

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