New research from Insight has suggested the pandemic exposes significant disconnect between IT and the wider business. The research suggests longstanding disconnect between IT teams and the wider business is preventing organisations from adopting new technologies. As a result, it is jeopardising their long-term response to the pandemic.
Despite the importance of IT delivering organisations strategic objectives, 72% treat IT as a utility rather than a business enabler. With just 22% giving IT a seat on the board. This has direct consequences for enterprises. The research indicates 55% of organisations are failing to take advantage of new technologies because they aren’t listening to IT.
Shinning a light on the disconnect
The pandemic has shone a light on this disconnect. 83% of senior IT decision makers believe ways of working have been permanently transformed. Yet across the wider business, at least 61% of organisations are reluctant to invest in projects. These projects could improve the employee experience or optimise the business. Because they believe things will eventually return to a pre-COVID-19 “normal”. Without addressing this, there is a real risk that enterprises will invest in projects without believing in their goals. Consequently, they will fail to understand the impact of new ways of working on employees; or base strategies on incorrect assumptions. As a result, they will almost certainly see investments wasted, projects failing and competitors taking advantage.
“The pandemic has brought about permanent changes to the way many of us live and work. We are not going to see a return to the status quo. It is absolutely imperative that organisations adapt,” said Emma de Sousa, President, EMEA at Insight. “There’s already a huge risk associated with making investments in the wrong place. But an incorrect investment at this moment in time could prove more damaging than ever before. Leaving the enterprise unequipped for new ways of working and doing business. The gap between IT teams and the wider business must be closed as an urgent priority. Businesses have to engage with IT on a more strategic basis, and measure it against businesses objectives,” adds de Sousa.
Research findings include:
- IT teams must measure business impact. 81% of IT departments have freedom to invest in the skills they need, 82% are engaged to support business projects. Yet 59% aren’t measured against business KPIs.
- Skills gaps must be overcome for new ways of working to succeed. 57% of organisations say they need to invest more in the skills and technology needed to support a remote workforce. 60% need to invest more in the skills and technology needed to optimise the business.
- Disconnect between IT and the business puts projects at risk. 67% of organisations are working on projects designed to improve the employee experience. 55% on projects to optimise the business. However, the belief of the wider business that things will return to “normal.” Means that these projects do not have the full support of the business, and so are more likely to fail.
- The costs of not engaging IT. The failure to engage with and listen to IT, coupled with the clear disconnect between IT and the wider business. Has almost certainly contributed to enterprises’ £3.81m / €4.19m spend from 2018-2020 on projects. These projects either did not provide the full benefits, or failed
Enterprise Times: What this means for business?
Old enough to remember when the IT team were restricted to the basement of the building. They were simply a minor extension of finance department and responsible for the more effective number crunching their figures. According to de Sousa, “The way IT is perceived and used within businesses has to fundamentally change,” de Sousa continued.
Today, every business is a technology business. Consequently, having IT at arm’s length from the decision-making board does not make any sense. Many would argue it is not good enough and that IT must be given a seat at the top table. Without this, businesses risk falling behind at a time when digital technology is driving change across all sectors. IT must be put front and centre, driving organisational change and being made directly accountable for doing so. If organisations give IT a voice on the board to drive strategy, let IT use that voice to support innovation. Consult IT on what approaches will best meet the business’s objectives. Furthermore, trust IT to perform against business KPIs, they will be positioned to face the challenges of 2021 and beyond.