Can your CIO keep up with digital transformation? (Image Credit: Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash)The latest Global CIO report (registration required) from Dynatrace has highlighted the challenges of digital transformation. It discovered that as the speed of digital transformation has increased, most CIOs are struggling to keep up with changes. Among the reasons given are siloed working, siloed data and limited collaboration across BizDevOps teams. It also claims that US $1.7 million in productivity is lost annually with IT teams sitting in meetings with the business.

There is little surprise in these numbers for many CIOs, IT directors, and most senior members of IT teams. However, as digital transformation continues to accelerate, these issues need to be addressed.

Mike Maciag, Chief Marketing Officer, Dynatrace (Image Credit: LinkedIn)
Mike Maciag, Chief Marketing Officer, Dynatrace

According to  Mike Maciag, Chief Marketing Officer at Dynatrace: “As the pace of digital transformation accelerates, and modern, dynamic clouds introduce increasing complexity, the pressure on teams to make data-driven business decisions, and automate operations to deliver business value faster, has never been greater.

“However, a lack of cross-team collaboration and access to a single source of truth across the organization is hindering BizDevOps teams’ ability to achieve this. By using disparate data from multiple monitoring and analytics solutions and adhering to a ‘my-part-works-fine’ view, they are wasting hundreds of hours and millions of dollars every year, rather than pursuing shared business goals backed by precise, holistic insights.”

The survey, conducted by Vanson Bourne covered 700 CIOs in large enterprises with over 1,000 employees. Respondents came from eight countries with 200 (US) 100 each (UK, France, Germany) and 50 each (Australia, Singapore, Brazil and Mexico).

Key findings from the survey

Dynatrace broke the survey into three main findings, each of which returned several other lessons. That said, readers of the report will find the Appendices more interesting as they break down the issues by country. That data shows a significant difference between countries.

The pressure on IT continues to rise

Silos, silos, silos. No matter how many times it is said, companies cannot get away from a siloed mentality. Over 93% of CIOs says silos are causing problems in understanding the success or failure of projects. For example:

  • 49% say data from monitoring tools often being stored in silos
  • 49% claim IT and business teams working in silos
  • 36% have limited visibility into the business value that results from changes to digital services (e.g. impact of software updates)
  • 49% have limited visibility and data into users’ perspectives on how digital services are performing

If those problems weren’t enough, there are several secondary and equally complex challenges. 43% are struggling with the move to a remote working model. That is likely to have been a major factor in the 45% seeing an increased number of IT performance-related issues. There has also been increased and sudden surges in demand for cloud services (39%).

Siloed teams make it harder to succeed

It is not just data that is siloed. The issue of IT and business teams still working in silos is a surprise. This is despite the emphasis on Agile, DevOps, SecDevOps and BizDevOps. Limited collaboration across BizDevOps is disrupting IT’s ability to respond quickly to sudden changes in business need. This is exactly the opposite of what BizDevOps is supposed to be doing. It shows that there is a serious failure in how it is implemented and managed in too many organisations.

It is not just how teams work but the tools that they use that cause the problem. One of the standout concerns is that there is no single and consistent source of truth regarding performance and user experience.

The next set of findings, all due to those silos and limited collaboration, should worry those at board level. They show how this affects the whole business, not just individual business units.

  • 40% Greater inefficiency in IT due to time wasted in war rooms or different teams playing the blame game
  • 40% More difficulty identifying the severity of an issue and minimising the overall business impact
  • 39% harder to understand whether the IT stack is delivering the service levels that are anticipated or required for business success
  • 36% Inability to fully understand what the business and our customers need, making it difficult to maximise the business value of IT
  • 31% Lost revenues/conversion due to mistakes that could have been avoided

Organisations need to transform the way they work

Much has been made of big data and analytics to improve company performance. This survey shows that for too many companies, it is more about lip service than deliverables.

  • 74% of CIOS are fed up with piecing data together from different tools to assess the impact of IT investment on the business
  • Only 14% of organisations have a single platform that enables cross-team collaboration
  • 95% of CIOs say IT investment decisions need to be more data-driven

Until organisations solve the first issue, the second two will not improve. If you have to extract data from multiple systems, it’s not easy to rely on that data for decision making. Similarly, in an age of Slack, Teams and other collaboration software, creating a company-wide collaboration platform is no longer rocket science.

CIO success and challenges differ by country

Looking at the appendices, it becomes clear how different the position is in different countries. For large enterprises who often operate internationally, this should be a major cause for concern. It makes creating an enterprise-wide solution increasingly complex and reduces value to the business.

Take moving to a remote model that everyone has had to do due to the pandemic. In Brazil, only 30% of CIOs saw this as a challenge. In the UK, that soared to over 46%. A similar disparity is evident in supporting rapidly changing business needs. In Australia, just 26% says this as an issue while in Singapore, it was 48%. When it comes to IT and business teams working in silos, only 30% of CIOs in Mexico see this as a problem. In the UK, it is an issue for 55% of CIOs.

There is little common ground across any of the questions which raises a question in itself. Is the maturity of the business part of the problem? More mature businesses tend to have more complex processes, and it is quite likely that this is impacting the success of working together. It could also be cultural where people are more or less likely to ask for help or be inclined to work to a common goal.

Enterprise Times: What does this mean?

It’s very easy to dismiss some of these findings as “what do you expect?” All the talk about getting rid of silos tends to come from vendors with products to sell. Changing how they work and their culture is complicated and takes time for customers to enact.

Speeding up change often comes from some unforeseen threat to a businesses existence or a serious management buy-in. It could be argued that 2020 has provided both for many businesses. What will be of real interest is whether the pandemic and the changes to how we work improves these findings. We won’t know that until the end of 2021.

What can be said now is that unless companies focus on getting rid of silos, they will fail to get the most from digital transformation.



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