A new study has drawn attention to a lack of support for transformational change as part of IT project implementations.

The study, “Business Leadership of Technological Change,” conducted by Cranfield School of Management on behalf the Chartered Management Institute, British Computer Society and project management firm, Serco’s executive networking forum, The Change Leadership Network, said business leaders take too narrow a view of IT projects.

It said using terms like “IT projects” as short hand belies the impact of what is often actually major business transformation. This lack of understanding of the “organisational design, people and process change, is continuing to sidetrack Boards and their senior business executives, including CIOs, into thinking of major change as being technology-driven rather than enabled,” it said.

Chief executives need to have a growing understanding of the strategic use of IT to ensure that their organisations are ready to capitalise on the new opportunities it provides. The report identifies extended implementation timeframes and a lack of full exploitation of IT for business benefits as two of the most common pitfalls that business leaders fall into.

Five key challenges for senior executives to obtain best value from IT-enabled change according to the report include:

  • Creating transformational value rather than just implementing IT projects
  • Building capability for ongoing change. Being able to predict future business needs and how IT can help shape new business models and deliver the desired benefits
  • Creating a climate of open communication
  • Managing confidence and risk – understanding the impact of external changes
  • Building personal capability, learning and confidence.