IT being sidestepped in digital transformation drives

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New survey shows business units increasingly going around IT for transformation tech

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6 February 2019 | 0

The role of IT as a gatekeeper of technology for enterprise is being eroded, as business units increasingly procure new systems and solutions without involving IT teams.

According to a new survey from BMC, carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EUI), up to two thirds of private and public sector organisations (66%) say they buy new systems and solutions without IT involvement, a situation, the survey says, flies in the face of IT’s traditional role as a gatekeeper of new technologies.

The survey report, “From gatekeeper to enabler: the role of IT when digital transformation is the norm”, says the situation shows organisations and their IT teams are not in sync when pursuing their digital transformation strategies.

The survey, carried out among 303 senior executives and administrators in Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and North America, says reasons for the lack of collaboration with IT departments on digital transformation initiatives include a misalignment in objectives, with non-IT teams prioritising revenue growth and reducing costs, in contrast to IT teams that typically prioritise integration within existing systems and overall security; and time pressures, as demonstrated by the finding that 37% of respondents cite excessive length of the procurement process for the failure to consult IT teams on the purchase of new technologies. 

Nonetheless, the report says that despite many companies saying they bypass IT when purchasing new technology, 43% of respondents still hold IT teams accountable when something goes wrong with digital transformation initiatives. This can be risky, the report warns, if IT teams have not evaluated the technologies in the first place.      

“Digital transformation is not a one-off, unique journey that some organisations are experimenting with,” said Kevin Plumberg, editor of the report. “It has become the norm, and companies where IT teams are working closely with the business rather than in silos are better positioned to manage the challenges that inevitably arise.”

The apparent lack of collaboration appears counterintuitive, the report argues, given the generally positive view of respondents towards the benefits of co-ordination between IT and non-IT teams. Notably, organisations in which IT and non-IT teams collaborate regularly are significantly more confident about overcoming digital transformation challenges. The vast majority (89%) of collaborators say they are confident about overcoming obstacles compared with 55% of non-collaborators. 

Another hindrance to seeing the results of digital transformation, the report finds, can be time itself. For organisations who have only had their initiatives in place for a year or two, only 42% strongly agree their organisation is realising the benefits of digital transformation, much lower than the 63% of respondents who have had their initiatives in place for three or more years. 

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