IT and business compete for the Digital Transformation crown, finds CIF research

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IT directors believe that cloud adoption in their organisation is driven principally by their IT function as part of a technology strategy, rather than the need for change driven by business decision makers. This is according to the latest research from the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF).

Overall cloud adoption in the UK now stands at 88%, with 67% of users expecting to increase their adoption of cloud services over the coming year. However, CIF conducted a detailed analysis comparing perceptions of cloud adoption and Digital Transformation projects between IT decision makers (ITDM) and their counterparts within business (BDM).

While 73% of ITDMs believe that cloud is being driven by their department as a technology strategy, only 48% of business leaders believe this to be the case. In contrast, almost half (49%) of BDMs say that it is driven by the business considering Digital Transformation, compared to only 26% of ITDMs.

Alex Hilton CEO, CIF, stated: "We were keen to analyse the views of both the IT and business decision makers within the enterprise to see if there are competing perceptions on who owns and drives Digital Transformation projects. The results did not disappoint. There appears to be a glaring disconnect between the IT department and others in the 'C' suite. One key statistic stands out: IT decision makers are more likely to think the head of IT/CIO is driving the migration to the cloud and implementing Digital Transformation projects by 47% to 26% of BDMs. Whereas the BDMs themselves are more likely to say it is driven by the CEO – 37% against 27% of ITDMs."

Conducted in February 2017, the research, polled 250 IT and business decision-makers in large enterprises, small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and public sector organisations. Other key findings include:

  • BDMs thought achieving the business objective of improving service levels of IT was more difficult than surveyed ITDMs did. Overall 60% of BDM respondents said that it was an achieved objective, but 39% reported it was difficult, compared to 54% of ITDM respondents who said it was an objective, and 22% who said it was difficult to achieve
  • ITDMs are more likely than surveyed BDMs to report that replacing legacy IT technologies either has/or are driving investment initiatives in cloud within their organisation (42% of ITDM respondents compared to 29% of BDM respondents)
  • ITDM respondents are most likely to report faster access to technology as a tangible benefit to using cloud (44% of ITDM respondents compared to 39% of BDM respondents). Whereas surveyed BDMs are most likely to report cost savings over on-premise solutions (46% of BDM respondents compared to 36% of ITDM respondents)
  • The majority (53%) of surveyed BDMs say that utilising cloud services has given their organisation a competitive advantage, whereas only 44% of surveyed ITDMs think this is the case
  • BDMs predict bigger cost savings from use of cloud services than surveyed ITDMs, particularly in five years' time (BDM respondents estimate an average cost saving of 35.18% compared to the ITDM respondent average estimate of 25.98% in five years' time)
  • ITDMs are much more likely than surveyed BDMs to think that cloud adoption in their organisation is driven principally by the IT function as a technological strategy (73% of ITDM respondents compared to 48% of BDM respondents). While almost half (49%) of surveyed BDMs say that it is driven by the business considering digital transformation (compared to only a quarter (26%) of surveyed ITDMs)
  • ITDM respondents are less likely than BDM respondents to think that their organisation's digital strategy is completely clear (18% of surveyed ITDMs think this, compared to 33% of surveyed BDMs)

Alex Hilton added: "An organisation can purchase, deploy and manage IT and cloud successfully without detailed understanding of its future direction but without business strategy in the right format and at the right level of detail, there is a risk that the organisation may shape and steer its technology in such a way as to prevent future alignment.

"Aligning IT with business strategy is nothing new. Organisations, which have struggled to use IT to achieve business objectives, are often due to differences in departmental goals and culture, or a mutual ignorance of each other's methods resulting in ineffectual products and systems, which fail to provide an effective return on investment. These findings are critical therefore to our understanding of the institutional and organisational challenges confronted by many in both the IT department and the wider business. Perceptions and expectations are widely different and those enterprises looking to deliver Digital Transformation projects effectively need address this disconnect head on," concluded Alex.

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