IT must up its delivery to stay relevant

July 2nd, 2014, Published in Articles: EngineerIT

 

Research reveals a five month gap between business demands and IT delivery.  This misalignment within businesses hampers innovation, productivity and competitive edge. IT departments must up their delivery if they want to stay relevant.

Wayne Biehn, regional VM Ware manager Africa: West, East, Central, South (WECA) Africa.

Wayne Biehn, regional VMware manager Africa: West, East, Central, South Africa.

VMware’s research findings released at the recent VM Forum showed that almost two-thirds (65%) of IT decision makers in Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) believe an average time lapse of five months exists between what the business wants and when IT can deliver it.

This misalignment between business and IT carries significant ramifications for the performance, competitiveness and growth prospects of organisations. The reduced likelihood of innovation across all departments (39%), reduced staff productivity (36%) and loss of customers to more agile competitors (33%) were cited by IT decision makers as the implications of the gap.

As companies grapple with the new era of IT, this gap adds to the growing pressure IT is under. The research by Vanson Bourne, commissioned by VMware, finds that 69% of IT decision makers feel their department is under pressure from the CEO, CTO or board to modernise IT in the next twelve months. Beyond the ongoing challenge of reducing the cost of IT (50%), these departments specifically have been tasked with increasing the mobility of the workforce (43%) and moving more infrastructure to the cloud (40%).

“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,” says Wayne Biehn, regional VMware manager Africa: West, East, Central, South (WECA) Africa. “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 to IT that can genuinely impact the business and reduce the gap.”

The pressure surrounding IT delivery is a challenge felt by many enterprises. The research found that one in two (55%) of IT decision makers recognise that smaller competitors can more rapidly implement modern IT and therefore react quicker to market changes. As a result, nearly three quarters (73%) of these respondents felt either concerned or threatened by smaller businesses.

Matt Piercy, Vice President, Northern Region, EMEA, VMware

Matt Piercy,VP: Northern Region, EMEA, VMware.

Commenting on the findings, Rob Harborn, senior economist, Centre for Economics and Business Research said: “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 will be forever hampered in their efforts to maximise productivity as the growth agenda returns.”

In addition to further investment (61%) and becoming closer aligned with business objectives (58%), 57% of IT decision makers identified the need to recruit more skilled talent as being key to reducing the gap. Also cited were the increased prominence of the CIO on the board (30%) and the creation of a Digital Officer role (30%), demonstrating the need to have the right people in place to ensure IT fully supports organisations as they look to increase performance, competitiveness and growth potential.

While the research did not showed IT departments in a rosy light, the position will change as  Matt Piercy, VP, Northern Region, EMEA, VMware,  said in his keynote address attended by  some 1300 delegates. He said that the world of IT is changing and highlighted that social networking, mobile, cloud and big data will be shaping the future of IT. “These challenges will the addressed by software defined data centres (SDDC), hybrid cloud and virtual workspace (EUC) with the ultimate result in an increase in pervasive adoption of IT as a service (ITaas). Ultimately IT agility and scalability will adapt to business demand.  The future of IT is clearly software defined enterprise in which IT moves at the speed of business through the use of software-defined architectures on all key infrastructures from the data centre to the device. In a software-defined enterprise, hardware is standardised and virtualised, intelligence and operation capabilities resides in the software layer, policy based automation and self-service are the new way to run the data centres.”

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