Senior IT managers must focus on business results and innovation or risk being left behind, analysts have warned.
Bobby Cameron, vice president and principal consultant at Forrester, said businesses had in the past been sceptical of major IT projects that promised to add value to the company, after high-profile enterprise resource planning failures and the dotcom crash.
But Cameron told the audience at the Forrester IT Forum in Edinburgh that the industry was at a tipping point, and innovation was now at the top of chief executives’ agendas.
He urged chief information officers to "lubricate the evolution” to business technology by investing in projects that moved the business forward. Cameron described the duality of IT, that it must "run engines and keep systems up and running" and also "drive the business forward".
Cameron emphasised the forum's theme – transitioning from IT to business technology, or "BT".
"The business will move to BT with or without the IT organisation," said Cameron. "To avoid BT irrelevance, IT organisations must focus on business results and innovation – not just technology," he added.
Jeanine Cotter, IBM Global Services’ vice president of IT services and architecture, said most companies were now thinking about IT risk and governance programmes.
Chief executives now took risk management more seriously, she told delegates in a keynote address.
Cotter urged delegates to use open standards, and said they provided a common language to work with partners, suppliers and outsourcers.
"It's crucial to consider open standards and best practices when working with partners, and jointly agree on common objectives you share and also provide a benchmark on what is the right thing," she said.
IBM recently launched a new IT governance and risk management strategy that brings together enterprise security and compliance products.
Read more news and analysis from the Forrester IT forum
Forrester IT Forum: round-up