According to a new research report released today, many of those running networks, data centers and back-end systems say lack of planning, deficiencies in key skills, insufficient funding, and a paucity of communications and collaboration with the business side make renovation of IT infrastructure a challenge for enterprises of all sizes.
Transform to Better Perform is sponsored by Dimension Data, a global leader in the provisioning and management of IT infrastructure solutions and services.
The BPI Network study finds that IT organizations currently suffer from major shortages of skilled professionals in the very areas that businesses most want to accelerate development and innovation. Both business executives and IT professionals say their companies' top desires are for faster deployment of new applications and customer experiences, as well as more strategic contributions from IT. However, IT workers say their biggest weaknesses are long-term planning, application development, data analytics and software engineering.
More than 80 percent of frontline IT workers say they spend over 50 percent of their time troubleshooting and maintaining legacy systems instead of driving innovation. And 17 percent say they spend 90 percent of their time on routine maintenance tasks.
The survey's major findings reveal:
- Only 35 percent of respondents rate their company's ability to adapt to new transformative technologies as good or very good.
- Over 70 percent of IT workers report they have not even begun or are just "getting started" on the road to IT transformation.
- Just 15 percent have a clear and detailed plan for transformation. Over 80 percent say their plans provide only general direction, need updating or don't exist at all.
- Almost 45 percent said improved collaboration between IT groups and business leaders is critically needed. Only 18 percent said there are active cross-functional teams in their companies today. Another 14 percent said they rarely speak with business managers or speak only out of necessity.
"Corporate executives tell us technology-led business innovation is now a critical competitive factor in every sector of the global economy. But, as this study clearly demonstrates, most companies lack the people, processes and investments to make transformation a reality," said Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the BPI Network. "We can expect to see a continuing shakeout between the leaders and laggards in technology-led transformation."
"Companies are at the start of a major shift to new technology models and a dependency on next-generation infrastructures, applications and services as they embark on the journey to becoming a digital enterprise," said Kevin Leahy, General Manager of Data Centre Solutions at Dimension Data. "The expertise and resources to get this done are clearly in short supply. Companies will need to tap into the right partners with the right capabilities and resources to ensure they are not left behind."
Among other complaints from the IT team are that business managers wait too long to bring them into the process (52 percent), don't provide sufficient funding and resources to get the job done (48 percent), and then change job requirements before work can be completed (46 percent). IT workers also indicate that they are frequently not viewed as trusted partners in the innovation process, with more than half of respondents indicating that business leaders have a negative impression of the IT department.
The study also found that half of IT respondents believe their companies will eventually either move "everything" (13 percent) or "most operations" (37 percent) to the cloud. Some 11 percent of respondents said the cloud "doesn't make sense" for their business. Currently, 34 percent are using the cloud for data storage and 45 percent are using it for software-as-a-service applications. More than a third say their companies have not yet embraced the cloud.