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September 11, 2014

Why are 80% of retailers ignoring their IT departments?

How CIOs can win back boardroom influence.

By Joe Curtis

Retail IT departments are facing irrelevancy, with 80% get ignored over technology purchase decisions, a new study warns.

Less than 20% of retailers believe their IT teams were even aware of their business goals, according to the Logicalis Retail IT Report 2014 survey of 100 large retail companies.

A further 66% claimed there was a communication breakdown between IT and the business, while 43% reported differing goals they were working to achieve.

Report author Gerry Carroll said: "The statistics show rising pressure from departmental heads to align more closely with business strategy. The message is clear: it’s time to stop sweating the small stuff and re-shape the IT function to focus on high value, strategic initiatives."

Just one in 10 respondents to the survey said their IT team met their departmental needs, while less than a third said IT significantly helped achieve business goals.

Meanwhile, nine out of 10 respondents wanted more responsibility for IT functions, and expected to have it in the next 12 months, leading to a large amount of shadow IT: 80% admit to bypassing IT teams for tech purchase decisions.

Carroll warned: "As this IT power-shift gathers pace in retail, the onus on IT Leaders to educate, guide and consult on best use of technology is becoming increasingly important."

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But he said IT pros were still best placed to guide the business, though must support business goals in doing so.

"The stats show that reliance on mobility, cloud and business analytics is already high in retail, yet there’s more to be done to exploit these technologies to drive forward their customer-centric business goals. That’s where IT leaders can really add value," he said.

"Those adopting a collaborative approach that aligns decision-maker needs and IT’s strategic advice, consultancy and knowledge, will be best positioned to exploit IT investment for gaining real business advantage."

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