Two-thirds of enterprises worldwide don't fully measure the value of their IT investments, according to survey results released this week by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), which represents 86,000 IT governance and security professionals.

The survey polled more than 1,200 IT professionals from nine countries. Respondents came from either the public sector or the private sector.

Half of respondents said their IT investments are getting 50 to 74 percent back on their expected value; one-fifth said they are getting at least 75 percent of value. But the accuracy of those metrics might be questionable because one-half admitted they measure IT's actual value only "to some extent," and one in 10 respondents said they don't measure it at all.

Robert Stroud, who serves on the ISACA board of directors and is a service management and governance evangelist at CA, told Government Technology on Friday he believes that government officials may actually be doing a better job of measuring IT's value than their private-sector counterparts.

"State governments, especially, understand some concept of value already -- due to the grants systems that are in place," Stroud said. He said states are attuned to fiscal transparency because they are attributing value in making sure those grants are delivered, met and measured. "For that aspect, I think state and local are probably doing a far better job [than the private sector] in terms of measuring value -- in dollars and cents. "In the private sector, we just go out and gain more money if we need it."

But it's not good enough just to measure fiscal responsibility anymore, Stroud said. You have to measure and define terms of value to the consumer and his or her experience -- like performance, throughput or customer satisfaction. "I don't think IT, even in state and local, is doing a job of communicating the value they give back," he said.

He said IT organizations' interest in finding value has increased during the last six months, especially as the recession has deepened. Stroud said that trend is being seen in all parts of the domestic economy.

Other survey findings include:

  • 30 percent of companies are increasing their investments in IT in 2009; 13 percent plan to reduce spending; and 14 percent plan to freeze spending.
  • Respondents said improved customer service (35 percent), cost reduction (24 percent) and new and improved products and services (16 percent) were benefits they received from IT investments.
Matt Williams  |  Associate Editor