According to an IDC survey of 105 enterprise business and technology professionals, centralized IT operations and technology standardization are growing as the pressure to align IT with business processes increases. Yet users continue to underestimate the time frame for developing business innovation from their technology investments. To avoid expensive project failures and increase the success of managing business services, IDC believes that infrastructure management offers the greatest impact on revenue for businesses.

"More than half of the respondents believe their technology investments will have an impact on business revenue in one to two years, while 19 percent believe it will have an impact on revenue today," said Stephen Elliot, senior analyst in IDC's Network and Service Management service. "Unfortunately, these responses overlook the organizational impact of new technologies. IT organizations must recognize that most business metrics require ongoing, incremental changes to technology and processes that demand long term commitment."

As IT organizations change to become more service-centric and move away from component management, they must address technology architecture changes, process adjustments, and staff training. It's clear, through the survey respondents, that these areas will be top of mind for most IT and business professionals during 2004, as linking business and technology processes grows in importance and impact.

To increase the success of both technology investments and new business services, IDC advises businesses to increase the communications between IT and business professionals, be flexible to necessary organizational changes, and have a vision that is supported by C-level executives and propagated throughout the various IT groups.