What Makes a Company Good at IT?

©IDG Communications, Inc. Photo contributed by Matthew Mikaelian.

Wall Street Journal, 4/25/11

Organizations world-wide have placed a huge wager on information technology, spending an estimated $594 billion on computer hardware and software in 2010 alone. But what are the keys to making the most of this investment? What makes a company “good” at IT?

There’s a great deal of advice on this topic, but relatively little rigorous research. So in collaboration with McKinsey & Co., our team at the MIT Center for Digital Business conducted a survey of some 330 U.S. public companies to investigate the issue.

And what did we find? First, the companies that had the data they needed and used it to make decisions (instead of relying more on intuition and expertise) had the highest productivity and profitability. Specifically, the most data-driven companies had 4% higher productivity and 6% higher profits than the average in our sample, all else being equal.

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