SOURCE: The Boston Consulting Group

The Boston Consulting Group

February 17, 2009 00:01 ET

CEOs Who Put Information Technology at the Core of Their Business Stand a Better Chance of Weathering the Downturn, Says The Boston Consulting Group

The Chief Information Officer, Given an Enhanced Role Within the Company, Can Play a Pivotal Part in Navigating Companies Through the Downturn

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - February 17, 2009) - CEOs should recognize the potential for their information-technology operations to transform the business during the downturn and give IT a more central role in the company, according to The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

In the first issue of "IT Advantage," a new biannual publication about information technology in the corporate world, BCG says that a company's IT operations should not simply play a traditional support-service role but should become a key driver of business transformation -- especially in today's tough economic environment.

"The IT organization is a significantly underutilized asset in many companies," says Wolfgang Thiel, global leader of BCG's Information Technology practice and one of the report's coauthors. "The opportunity cost to these businesses is substantial, particularly right now. IT can deliver cost savings and facilitate a range of tactical and strategic options that can help businesses weather the downturn and prepare for the upturn. Over the longer term, IT can enable and drive a host of capabilities that lead to true, sustainable competitive advantage. Companies need to revisit how they can leverage IT. And IT organizations have to become true business partners that understand the company's challenges and opportunities."

BCG estimates that global growth in IT spending will be at most 1 percent in 2009 -- down from more than 5 percent in 2008. But far from shrinking in importance, the IT function should take a central role in navigating the business through the downturn.

The publication, subtitled "Putting Information Technology at the Core of Business," is aimed at the CIO and other business and IT executives and looks at IT's current and potential role through a number of lenses. Topics include the formulation of action plans for the downturn; how the benchmarking of IT data can improve performance throughout the company; how to create value through a holistic lean approach across operations and IT; how and why to take advantage of the "green IT" trend; and how to change the IT organization from a service provider into a leading force that drives business transformation. The report also includes an interview with Filippo Passerini, CIO of Procter & Gamble, who offers first-person insights into how P&G put IT at the heart of its business and, as a result, pioneered ways for the consumer giant to create value.

"These days, companies need to be firing on all cylinders simply to survive, let alone thrive," says Thiel. "IT can play a pivotal role in that effort."

To receive a copy of the report or arrange an interview with one of the authors, please contact Eric Gregoire at +1 617 850 3783 or

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