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|January 14, 1999||
Use of information technology in Indian companies is largely restricted to routine applications. Sub-optimal use has made it imperative for Indian corporations to look at IT as the most critical competitive tool.
According to a recent survey conducted jointly by Computer Associates and The Economist Intelligence Unit, India, most Indian corporations view IT as a separate function and not as infrastructure that connects and enables all functions within the organisation.
While two thirds of the CEOs surveyed agreed that IT delivered significant productivity gains, only 40 per cent of the companies used data warehousing facilities.
Enterprise resource planning is used in only 15 per cent of the companies. The survey cites this as an interesting development. It states that data warehousing is a technique that uses data generated by standard software applications such as ERP.
It is quite uncommon to find companies using data warehousing without ERP.
"Tools such as data warehousing and ERP facilitate strategic decision making, which is not happening on a large scale among companies in India,'' the survey said.
While 83 per cent of the companies surveyed had a home page on the Internet, 30 per cent conduct business on the Net. Only 13 per cent of all companies perform actual transactions on the Net. "Companies in India have still not begun to exploit the potential of e-commerce.''
In less than a quarter of all organisations IT was entrusted to someone as senior as director or vice-president. In 28 per cent of the companies a manager headed IT.
According to the survey, 18 per cent of IT heads report to the chief finance officer "which shows historical bias in using IT for finance control functions''. Less than 40 per cent of IT heads take decisions on technology selection, vendor selection and IT budgeting.
The attitude of CEOs to IT as a productivity enhancer rather than a strategic decision-making enabler has been cited as among the reasons for sub-optimal use of IT in India.
Nearly a third of the CEOs felt strongly that they needed to know more about IT. Surprisingly, only 14 per cent of the CEOs of financial companies felt so, considering that such companies are major users of IT.
Only 42 per cent of the respondents reiterated their confidence in IT as a reliable tool even as 35 per cent considered the IT industry to deliver as promised. Forty per cent of CEOs felt IT delivered measurable productivity gains.
As such, it could be assumed that if the value of a function cannot be measured it does not have the importance it deserves.
The survey puts part of the blame for sub-optimal use of IT on IT heads who have possibly "not demonstrated an appreciation for business needs and strategy. It is all the more plausible because a relatively junior executive heads the function, where it exists. It is also likely that the IT department has not made efforts to connect to their colleagues in other functions''.
Only 33 per cent of the CEOs surveyed could assert that IT and other departments in their organisations work in a spirit of partnership. "The lack of partnership, especially in the context of low IT related knowledge levels across functions, is likely to lead to a disconnect between IT on the one hand and CEO and other functions on the other.''
- Compiled from the Indian media
- Compiled from the Indian media
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