Accenture has brought out the latest report on high performing IT organisations with the finding that the gap between high performers and less agile IT teams is growing.

The report defines high performing IT teams as those that are able to command budget for discretionary projects, as well as operational costs; that are able to demonstrate a high awareness of business goals and measure their successes in terms of business success.

The global survey of 226 of the largest organisations across the world found that only about 5 per cent of respondents met Accenture's criteria, so CIOs should not be too dismayed if they feel they've under-performed.

However, the survey said the score differential between low-performers and high performers has grown by a few percentage points compared to the last time Accenture conducted this survey, in 2008.

Undoubtedly, the economic downturn over the last two years has been the main driver for IT teams to focus more on non-discretionary spend and to be viewed by the rest of the business as cost centres, said Jeremy Oates, MD of Accenture's UK and Ireland technology business.

"Everyone is being squeezed into survival mode," he said. "But a few CIOs have managed to achieve more from their IT teams than just slashing costs."

Oates is optimistic for the future though. He noted the desire to innovate by CIOs across the world has increased. In 2008 51 per cent of respondents were content to follow the market. In 2010, 82 per cent said they wanted to lead the way in emerging technology.

"As the adoption of new technology grows," said Oates, "CIOs will be able to more easily cut discretionary spend while still providing support for business growth. There is an increasing amount of pressure within all businesses on the IT department. As we move on to a new generation of business leaders who expect technology to provide a step-change in business processes. The technology is now available to achieve that."