August 2006 Survey: IT Departments Are Going Through Unprecedented Change

By Allan Alter  |  Posted 08-22-2006

August 2006 Survey: IT Departments Are Going Through Unprecedented Change

Organizational change always brings fear, uncertainty and doubt. So when we found that 57 percent of respondents say their IT department is going through more change today than they have ever seen in their career, we expected to also find that morale is taking a dive. That's not how it turned out. Yes, one in five report serious morale problems. But those numbers are not as severe as last year, especially at large companies. Why is that the case? The most likely reason is that growing IT organizations provide opportunities for advancement and interesting new work. Finding 5.2 gives us another explanation: few companies are cutting back on training, and training has a strong correlation with morale.

Finding 4: Most IT executives believe their departments are undergoing more change than ever.
Today's moves to new IT architectures and open-source systems are a source of change, but there are other reasons as well: IT executives working with large numbers of outsourcers and contractors in their IT organization are more likely to say their department is going through unprecedented change. So are IT executives in organizations where the CIO reports to the COO. Yet there is no correlation between drastic change and the ways in which business is becoming more involved in IT.



Next page: The IT morale problem has stabilized, but it's still serious, especially at large companies.

The IT morale problem

has stabilized, but it's still serious, especially at large companies.">

Finding 5: The IT morale problem has stabilized, but it's still serious, especially at large companies.
We were alarmed, in our last IT organization survey, to find that 39 percent of IT executives who were not CIOs believed poor morale was harming their companies. That number has dropped to 31 percent, in part because growth has lessened anxiety. But the stresses of understaffing and rapid change aren't the only factors influencing morale: IT staffs aren't comfortable seeing users take on a bigger role in IT. IT professionals must accept this new reality, and CIOs need to help them do it.



Research Guide:

  • Finding 1: IT organizations are getting larger, not smaller.
  • Finding 2: Large companies are relying on contractors, outsourcers and H1B visa holders.
  • Finding 3: CIOs are looking for business-savvy technologists to build new systems.
  • Finding 4: Most IT executives believe their departments are undergoing more change than ever
  • Finding 5: The IT morale problem has stabilized, but it's still serious, especially at large companies.

    For more data and analysis, see CIO Insight 's Research Center blog at go.cioinsight.com/researchcentral

    Read our previous surveys on the IT organization's current state and future:

  • The IT Organization: Why is Morale So Bad? (November 2004)
  • The Future of IT (January 2005)
  • The Future of IT 2004 : What's in Store for Today and Tomorrow? (January 2004)

    Related stories:

  • The Downside of Managing Up: Can a CIO Be Too Strategic? (February 2005)
  • Culture Clash – Special Issue on Alignment issue (October 15, 2004)
  • Labor Pains (October 2003)
  • Case study: Johnson & Johnson and Managing IT (December 2001)