European IT managers and CIOs are still not prepared for the onset of new compliance regulations, with a third of organisations still not meeting their legal responsibilities.

That’s the finding from new research from Illuma Research, commissioned by Compuware. The survey found that 33 percent of European organisations will fail to meet IT compliance deadlines. Perhaps more worrying is the degree of indifference displayed by IT management. Despite 94 percent recognising that they are accountable for ensuring IT meets regulatory compliance demands, 72 percent described their attitude as not at all concerned, or not very concerned about being held personally responsible for non-compliance.

Companies in the US and Europe are faced with a new set of compliance initiatives including Sarbanes-Oxley, Basel II, a new Data Protection Act and many others. The laws have been enacted to help prevent major corporate scandals such as Enron and Worldcom, although critics have been sceptical that they will be effective.

Ayman Gabarin, VP of IT Governance for Compuware in Europe said that these findings were a reflection of the pressure that were being put on IT departments. "The fact is that IT departments are overwhelmed. CIOs don’t have the staffing to deal with the normal running of the department without talking about compliance."

He added that departments are being hit in two ways. "They have their own compliance to deal with and are getting lots of requests from other departments for help with their compliance problems." The research revealed that 69 percent of those surveyed stated that other business functions are also approaching the IT department for help with meeting compliance regulations.

Gabarin said part of the problem was that organisations had accumulated a complex set of tools to manage their networks but these hadn’t been fully integrated. He said that IT managers should put a proper framework in place to deal with all the issues thrown up by the need to conform to compliance regulations.