Digital transformation is great provided the technology is ready

Everyone – especially tech professionals – is in favor of digital transformation. However, while embracing technology as an enabler of digital business growth is fine material for articles and analyst reports, much of the technology still seems too slow or too siloed to make a difference.

That’s one of the key findings from a recent survey conducted by IDG and commissioned by Insight Enterprises of 400 IT managers. Everyone agrees that IT modernization is essential before digital transformation can truly begin. 89% of IT leaders agree that existing infrastructure, operations, and culture hinder innovation and strategic business growth. At least half of survey participants, 49%, say their IT infrastructure hinders business growth “to a great extent.”

Survey authors Aran Bride and Jen Garofalo, both at IDG, define digital transformation as “the organization’s adaptation to a digital approach by revising and redefining business processes, organizational structures, applications and employee, customer and partner engagement points. Digital transformation leverages technologies such as cloud, internet of things (IoT), network infrastructure, data analytics, mobility, and security to innovate or modernize a business function.”

Gaps in collaboration and skills

Almost all IT managers also complain about the lack of collaboration between teams to achieve digital transformation goals. 87% of them say that the working relationship between developers and traditional IT “impedes their ability to take full advantage of digital transformation.” There doesn’t seem to be much done yet to address this issue, and only 20% are in the process of setting up platform teams that collaborate with DevSecOps or an agile team.

Skills and knowledge gaps are also holding things back: 44% of respondents cite skills and knowledge gaps as the biggest barrier to innovation. Lack of infrastructure optimization and insufficient data analysis capabilities for decision-making follow at 39%.

Yet 90% of respondents expect IT modernization to have a transformative or significant impact on the long-term growth of their organization, including 29% of those who have not yet started the process. The average respondent cites three to four measurable improvements resulting from IT modernization efforts to date, led by improved quality of service (44%) and improved experience or user satisfaction (40%). Other benefits of digital transformation include business continuity (35%), cost savings (34%), resource optimization (33%), greater agility (32%) and greater product innovation (32%).

Develop and modernize applications

Nearly two-thirds, 65%, place high importance on accelerating application development and modernization to enable innovation. Several strategies are already in place to help with this, including enabling security protocols and governance early in the application development lifecycle (66%), implementing metrics, dashboards, and monitoring (66%), early testing during application development (64%), managing infrastructure updates and patch management (63%), and automating to fix performance issues (60%).

The top areas of IT automation are infrastructure deployment, disaster recovery, resource provisioning and data protection, each cited by two-thirds of executives. Top security initiatives include performing security testing (68%), implementing Zero Trust policies (65%), updating governance policies (64%), and implementing an operational security center (63%).

It’s clear that business leaders are relying on their technology teams more than ever to lead them to the promised digital land. While investing in the latest and greatest technology won’t do overnight miracles in a lazy organization, it’s critical that leaders support the elimination of old systems and processes that are preventing them from achieving and to serve customers.


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