Economic and market pressures may be barking at their heels, but a McKinsey & Co. survey shows company executives, including those in financial services, still see a wide gulf between what their IT organizations provide and what they are capable of doing to merge technology goals with business priorities. In its third-annual survey, McKinsey found a great deal of pessimism about whether firms will find a way to bridge IT investments with business strategy to foster innovation and support long-term investments in areas like sales-force improvement and supply-chain management.

The consultancy found 67 percent of both IT and company management executives believed each should be tightly coupled, but only 22 percent felt they could describe their organizations in that fashion today. Even worse, two-thirds of the respondents felt their companies were “at risk” of disruption of new information- and technology-based products and services (think iPhone and Facebook). And fewer than half felt their firms “well prepared” to meet those risks.

What’s interesting here is the gap between IT and non-IT execs, with 47 percent of non-IT chiefs reporting their companies were well prepared to respond to the disruptors, while only 39 percent of IT leaders believed the companies were ready. Despite, or because, of the preparatory concerns, the third-annual survey finds that more than 40 percent of execs are looking toward added IT investments next year. That’s down from 69 percent a year ago, but in this economic environment that “suggests that many companies are prioritizing new IT investments even when a sizable share are cutting operating expenses,” according to the report. “That’s a significant change from past downturns which were marked by drastic cuts in discretionary IT investment.”

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