Business to IT: transform us, and speed it up

Survey suggests business leaders want their information technology departments to get more aggressive about transformation.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer
There's no end to talk of "transformation," and a even more talk about information technology people delivering it. But what exactly does it take to deliver transformation, and what is expected of IT professionals to make this magical process happen?
Photo: Honda Media Relations

A new survey report issued by the BPI Network suggests that business leaders are leaning on their IT departments harder than ever to deliver transformation. Unfortunately, they're also getting impatient.

The survey of 250 executives, sponsored by Dimension Data, finds the majority, 87 percent, are dedicating more time and attention to understanding the strategic implications of disruptive technologies. Nearly 70 percent believe technology has become "far more important" to their business.

"Business leaders want to migrate as soon as possible to hybrid IT solutions that blend modernized datacenters withcloud-enabled technologies. They want new business-changing applications and customer experiences delivered more rapidly. They want deeper business insights from their growing stores of data. And they want the IT group to be held more accountable for providing them."

However, less than half (46 percent) rate the level of innovation in their IT groups as good or very high. About the same number, 44 percent, give their IT departments low marks.

Business leaders also want their companies to do a better job of embracing modern technologies and new channels of customer engagement and digital experience. The top five IT transformational imperatives in their organizations are believed to be: Improve responsiveness to ever-changing business requirements; focusing on digital experience as a competitive advantage; understanding and embracing disruptive technologies; delivering applications faster, better and at lower cost; and rethinking how to better engage, acquire and service customers.

Technology adoption is hampered by the inability to gain consensus and support for new technology investments; difficulties in minimizing information security risk, vulnerability and threats; and integration of back-end systems with customer-facing channels.

IT needs to be an innovation team as much as a technology provider. In terms of performance metrics, 40 percent of survey respondents believe an IT organization's ability to bring ideas and solutions for furthering business performance is just as important as ensuring the reliability, scalability and security of IT infrastructures. Changes sought for data centers include migrating to hybrid IT that blend traditional data centers with the cloud (45%); modernizing and upgrading (45%); and consolidating servers (32%).

The top five transformative technologies were identified as follows:

  • Real-time intelligence from embedded sensors -- Internet of Things (35 percent)
  • Always on, highly scalable and available Web business models (34 percent)
  • Micro-targeting and personalization using Big Data analytics (32 percent)
  • Social media data mining and more efficient engagement (27 percent)
  • Proliferation of smart mobile devices and applications (25 percent)

From these changes, executives are hoping for increased agility and responsiveness to business changes (71 percent of respondents); greater cost efficiencies (60 percent); and faster time to market (49 percent). And they expect IT to be more aggressive in delivering this. Hopefully, this means this means they will back up their impatience with money and resources.

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