We recently announced the results of a European-wide research project looking at the gap between business demands and IT delivery. Shockingly, the research revealed 80 percent of IT decision makers in the UK believe there is a significant gap between what the business wants and when IT can deliver it. The average gap between demand and IT delivery in the UK is five months, but over a quarter of IT decision makers believe that the gap is more likely between seven and 18 months.
This misalignment between business and IT can carry significant ramifications for the performance, competitiveness and growth prospects of organisations. In the UK, IT decision makers cited the reduced likelihood of innovation across all departments (51 percent), reduced staff productivity (52 percent) and loss of customers to more agile competitors (35 percent) as the most significant implications of the gap.
Joe Baguley, EMEA CTO at VMware, explains why this is such an issue for the whole business: “A lag of almost half a year between what the business expects of IT and what it can deliver is huge. We cannot underplay the pressure IT departments face in this new mobile cloud era, as they balance a need to maximise value from existing systems alongside the necessity to deploy new technologies. We’re hearing time and again that businesses see IT as a driver of innovation; it has to be part of future, not part of the furniture.
Organisations of all sizes need an IT infrastructure that can scale up and down with business demand, increase automation to reduce management burden and help improve productivity and support innovation. Investment needs to shift so that IT can genuinely impact the business and reduce the gap.”
Our research also found 64 percent of UK IT decision makers feel their department is under pressure from the CEO, CTO and board to modernise IT within the next 12 months. Beyond the ongoing challenge of reducing the cost of IT (69 percent), these departments specifically have been tasked with increasing the mobility of the workforce (57 percent) and moving more infrastructure to the cloud (42 percent).
We compared the results of our survey of UK businesses with those in the rest of Europe, and found a significantly higher number of UK firms identified the impact that the delivery gap is having on their competitiveness, innovation and productivity. From an economic point of view, this is especially important for the UK as Rob Harbron, Senior Economist, Centre for Economics and Business Research, notes: “As economies move from recovery mode into a period of growth and optimism, the pace of business is faster than ever. With this new wave of IT innovation taking place right before us, organisations are in a race to find better and quicker ways to align business expectations with IT delivery. There is a demonstrable impact on organisational performance for those that can closely align the two. Those that cannot may be forever hampered in their efforts to maximise productivity as the growth agenda returns.”
We discussed this with Angus Gregory, CEO, Biomni, a UK-based company specialising in cloud-delivered service catalogue and request fulfilment solutions. He explained why it is so important for a business’ IT department to respond to needs of the wider business: “With the pace at which we operate, it’s critical we have an IT infrastructure which enables us to adapt quickly to business needs – we cannot afford to have a gap between IT delivery and business strategy. Moving to a new IT model with a hybrid cloud solution has improved business agility and enabled faster delivery of services. There’s no longer frustration about how quickly we can meet customers’ demands, but a focus on how we can create innovative new ways to attract and impress them.”
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