IT directors have an opportunity to prove their business importance in 2012.

With colleagues increasingly recognising the value of IT, IT leaders have a growing influence in the boardroom.

2012 is the year for CIOs, CTOs and IT Directors to forget past perceptions of IT as a purely technical function and demonstrate its strategic importance to the boardroom, according to research from Modis, a global leader in IT recruitment.

The research shows that many IT directors still feel undervalued after years of being perceived as a purely technical utility function. Yet with IT more fundamental to business strategy than ever before – and gaining recognition across the workforce – IT directors have an unprecedented opportunity to influence business decision-making, says Modis.

Perceptions of IT are changing in UK businesses, as colleagues outside of the IT function recognise its importance in determining business direction and growth. When polling HR directors about their view of IT, over a quarter (26%) describe company IT teams as strategic and 28% believe they are an integral part of the decision-making process. Only 6% viewed them as purely technical support staff.

Despite this, many IT leaders believe they are still valued primarily for their technical contribution. Fewer than one in ten (9%) IT leaders believe that their teams are seen as strategic operators and 13% think they are seen as technical support – double the proportion of HR directors holding this view. While there is still work to do to ensure the majority of peers recognise IT’s strategic importance, its internal reputation is changing for the better, and changing faster than many IT directors realise.

Commenting on the research, Jim Albert, Managing Director, Modis, said:

“I’m encouraged to see that IT is making an impression at executive level. The next evolution is for CIOs to become embedded as strategic business leaders by being more vocal in ‘selling’ both their own skills and technology’s capability to deliver huge improvements to business operations. The research indicates that peers across the business are now primed to listen – and believe – when IT heads demonstrate how their input can positively impact the organisation.

“IT departments have come a long way from being pure technical specialists to being strategic operators critical to achieving business growth and transformation. A seat at the boardroom table is now theirs for the taking.”