Some IT veterans might remember the days when IT teams were seldom seen nor heard from by executive management — unless something went wrong. IT budget was scarce, often perceived as simply a necessary cost of doing business.
Flash forward to today’s digital business and a different picture begins to emerge: one with a strong and growing relationship between senior executives and the IT organization. According to the 2017 IDG Research survey
commissioned by Datalink, the majority of those surveyed have seen a positive shift in the value IT brings to the business.
The survey — Stakes Rise for IT: The IT Transformation Journey
— shares insights and priorities of senior IT leaders (70 percent holding VP or C-Level executive positions; 30 percent holding a director-level title). Notably, 98 percent of those surveyed found IT to be critical or very important to their company’s business strategy over the next year.
This discovery brings with it some good news, and some bad news.
The Good News: The Business Knows It Needs IT
Executives now recognize how integral IT is to achieving key business goals and strategies.
According to the survey, top business goals for IT over the next 12 months include:
- Increasing operational efficiency
- Improving the customer experience
- Increasing agility to support changing business demands
Fourth on the list of priorities is, “transforming to a digital business model.” For many organizations, accomplishing this requires addressing polarized IT activities. Firms must support legacy infrastructure and applications (i.e. keep the lights on) while striving toward IT transformation, IT optimization and innovation, balancing what Gartner calls “bimodal
” IT needs.
Nearly all those surveyed agreed that IT optimization is highly important to the success of digital transformation initiatives and may be perceived as: improving IT’s ability to drive business growth, increasing agility, and making best-fit platform decisions.
The Bad News: There Are Roadblocks
IT organizations are feeling more pressured than ever to change quickly.
Transforming an entire IT infrastructure isn’t easy. Successful IT transformations involve changes to business and IT processes, skillsets, and technology. While the survey shows progress has been made, more than 75 percent of organizations don’t believe their data centers are fully optimized.
This finding could point toward the complexity of IT transformation. Alternatively, it could reflect budgetary challenges. More than half of survey respondents said it was “extremely challenging” to fund and support innovative/business advancing projects.
Information is Power
The 2017 IDG survey offers numerous insights that can inform, support, and direct IT executives today:
- Mode 1 versus Mode 2 spending strategies
- IT’s top priorities to achieve business goals
- Public cloud considerations
- Application and workload assessment for platform decisions
Explore these topics further with the resources shared below.