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Collaborative innovation will see UK business through the recession, say PA and Harvey Nash

18 May 2009

Against the backdrop of the global economy in crisis, high unemployment rates and declining budgets, the pressure to do more with less has never been stronger. CIOs are being called on by the board to leverage the talents of their diminishing teams to reshape the role of technology in their companies and drive the business out of the recession, according to new research from professional recruitment consultancy, Harvey Nash (i) and sponsored by PA Consulting Group.

The annual survey, conducted amongst 1,345 senior IT executives across Europe, revealed an overwhelming majority (86%) of respondents have been asked by the business to provide technology innovation to aid competitive advantage, and that despite pressures on IT budgets, the percentage spent on innovation activity remains fairly robust. Indeed, despite the current financial crisis, there has only been a seven per cent drop in IT budgets invested towards innovation, compared to last year.

The call for innovation is strong, as long as the changes introduced reduce costs quickly. The survey revealed that 88 per cent of UK respondents had achieved success with their innovation collaboration (ii) activity and almost two thirds (66%) are working on projects to speed up the development and delivery of product and services.

“IT leaders must be proactive, aggressive cost-cutters and strategic implementers for the sake of businesses across the UK”, said John Whiting, managing director of UK IT Business at Harvey Nash. “It is encouraging that organisations are turning to the IT department in order to innovate their way into recovery and Harvey Nash is seeing IT leaders collaborating with suppliers and customers to drive efficiency and create new revenue streams. With greater results on tighter budgets, we expect the IT function to be rewarded with the strategic influence they desire.”

Alex Blues, Head of IT Sourcing at PA Consulting, supports this view adding: "Cost reduction is a prime candidate to start a wider innovation dialogue, focused on improving the bottom line during these difficult times." 

Notes to editors

About the research:

(i) Survey conducted online by Harvey Nash between 23 February and 23 March 2009 amongst 1,345 senior level IT professionals from businesses across Europe.  This is the 11th in a series of annual CIO surveys conducted by Harvey Nash to identify emerging trends and issues in IT leadership and has firmly established itself as the industry benchmark over the years.

(ii) PA Consulting Group definition of Innovation Collaboration: Innovation Collaboration is where an organisation chooses to work with other organisations within its community to improve the process of their innovation activity.

About Harvey Nash
Harvey Nash, a global professional recruitment consultancy and IT outsourcing service provider, is committed to delivering the very best talent and IT solutions to a broad base of international clients. The Group is a trusted advisor to some of the world’s leading business, governments and institutions. Operating from 38 offices covering the USA, Europe and Asia, its talented professionals pursue the highest levels of integrity and quality in providing a unique portfolio of services: executive search, interim management, IT and finance recruitment and IT outsourcing.

About PA Consulting Group
At PA Consulting Group, we transform the performance of organisations. We put together teams from many disciplines and backgrounds to tackle the most complex problems facing our clients, working with leaders and their staff to turn around organisations in the private and public sectors. Clients call on us when they want:

• an innovative solution: counter-intuitive thinking and groundbreaking solutions
• a highly responsive approach: we listen, and then we act decisively and quickly
• delivery of hard results: we get the job done, often trouble-shooting where previous initiatives have failed.

PA is an independent, employee-owned, global firm of 3,000 operating from offices across the world, in Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia, and Oceania. We have won numerous awards for delivering complex and highly innovative assignments, have technology development capability that few firms can match, deep expertise across key industries and government, and a unique breadth of skills from strategy to IT to HR to applied technology.

• defence • energy • financial services • government and public services • international development • life sciences and healthcare • manufacturing • postal services • retail • telecommunications • transportation

• strategic management • innovation and technology • IT • operational improvement • human resources • complex programme delivery

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