Global business leaders expect their IT organisations to realise measurable business and competitive advantages from technology transformation.
This was revealed by a new study from the Business Performance Innovation (BPI) Network, as part of its “Transform to Better Perform” knowledge transfer initiative aimed at rating the level of innovation in IT organisations. It finds the vast majority of business decision makers are dedicating more time and attention to understanding the strategic implications of disruptive technologies. They also want their companies to do a better job of embracing modern technologies and new channels of customer engagement and digital experience.

The new BPI Network study, “Accelerating Business Transformation through IT Innovation: Getting the Business Leader Take on the IT Change Mandate”, sponsored by Dimension Data, suggests that business leaders are creating a new scorecard for IT organisations, one that is focused on business innovation and growth as primary objectives for technology deployment and management.

It also finds that business executives favour transformation of their IT infrastructures, including the adoption of new cloud-enable hybrid IT models and data centre modernisation.

While nearly 70% of global managers surveyed by the BPI Network believe technology has become “far more important” to their business, less than half (47%) of the 250 executives polled rate the level of innovation in their IT groups as good or very high. In contrast, 52% feel it is poor or just making progress. Only 42% say their IT groups are doing a good job of becoming a more strategic, responsive and valued business partner, compared to 58% who view their transition as poor or only making moderate headway.

In terms of performance metrics, 46% of survey respondents believe that ensuring the reliability, scalability, and security of IT infrastructures is the most effective metric, while 38% of survey respondents believe an IT organisation’s ability to bring ideas and solutions for furthering business performance is another highly relevant metric. Slightly less important was the quality and timeliness of application delivery (36%), incidence and speed of problem resolution (29 percent), and customer satisfaction with tech-driven business interface (27%).

“From the C-suite to operational units, senior managers are eager to see progress in implementing a broad range of technologies that increase their agility, improve customer experience, and make their companies more competitive,” says Dave Murray, head of thought leadership at the BPI Network. “We believe this constitutes a new scorecard for IT, with greater emphasis on IT¹s role in driving business growth and market differentiation.”

Expectations for IT organisations are rising within executive ranks relative to where and how transformational technology can impact business performance. Customer-facing innovations are the top three areas survey participants see technology uplifting business. This includes:

* Making it simpler and easier for people to do business with us;

* Enriching the way we interact with customers and partners; and

* Improving the customer experience overall.

A surprising 85% of business line executives surveyed report they are devoting more time, or are committed to, understanding the strategic implications of technologies. In this context, the top five IT transformational imperatives in their organisations are believed to be:

* Improve responsiveness to ever-changing business requirements;

* Focus on digital experience as a competitive advantage;

* Deliver applications faster, better and at lower cost;

* Rethink how to better engage, acquire and service customers; and

* Understand and embrace disruptive technologies.

In particular, those participating in the BPI Network survey see major benefits from data centre and cloud transformation. Most notably, they anticipate:

* Increased agility and responsiveness to business changes (70% of respondents);

* Greater cost efficiencies (57%); and

* Faster time to market (47%).

Relative to their data centres, some 48% expect to modernise and upgrade these facilities, and 44% expect their companies to migrate to a hybrid IT model combining both on-premise data centre and cloud.

“Companies in every industry and every part of the world are realising that they must embrace a new model of business responsive data centres and networks in order to drive innovation, agility, and speed,” Richard Garratt of Dimension Data. “Today’s discussion around the data centre and cloud-enabled hybrid IT models is rooted in the need to respond more effectively and rapidly to the strategic needs of enterprises in a very fasting changing business environment.”

When it comes to gaining competitive advantage, BPI Network survey respondents identified the top five transformative technologies they believed would create differentiation and business value. These include:

* Realtime intelligence from embedded sensors – Internet of Things (35%);

* Always on, highly scalable and available Web business models (33%);

* Social media data mining and more efficient engagement (29%);

* Micro-targeting and personalisation using Big Data analytics (28%); and

* Proliferation of smart mobile devices and applications (26%).

According to survey findings, there is a clear disconnect across organisations between the recognised need to adopt new technologies and actually achieving that goal. Top challenges listed for embracing new technology internally include:

* Gaining consensus and support for new technology investments;

* Determining needs and optimal solutions available;

* Minimising information security risk, vulnerability and threats;

* Successfully implementing and gaining organisational adoption; and

* Aging IT infrastructure that needs upgrading and modernisation.

The BPI Network research was undertaken in the second quarter of 2015 and surveyed executives across a range of titles, company sizes, industry sectors and geographies. Some 22% of respondents represented companies with revenues of $1-billion or more and 31% had annual sales of between $100-million and $1-billion. The balance had revenues of less than $100-million.