The IT Transformation Imperative: Driving meaningful change in the tech industry - Image by Michaela Navrátilová from Pixabay It’s always been important for the CIO to monitor technology industry developments. They must figure out what, when and how to take new ideas and solutions on board. More recently, however, the innovation landscape has rapidly reached new peaks. A range of trends including DevOps and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have reached inflection points over a very short time. Subsequently, a widespread digital transformation has ensued. This is a phenomenon dramatically accelerated by the pandemic.

With so much new technology on offer, it’s not easy for CIOs to work out which solutions are worth investing in. Tech leaders must also ensure that any necessary changes are made to the relevant internal processes to make the most of their new tools. We recently surveyed a group of IT leaders from the CIO WaterCooler community to create The IT Transformation Imperative report. The research revealed five key findings outlining the current priorities for CIOs, the challenges they’re facing and what the IT organisation needs to do to get ahead.

Before deep diving into the report, however, we must understand exactly what is meant by ‘IT transformation’ – as the term is often used differently. Some regard it as being synonymous with legacy systems modernisation, while others emphasize the shift to cloud computing or even the adoption of DevOps. Here, we’re encompassing a range of key areas of IT delivery that have evolved rapidly in recent years, including application lifecycle, business infrastructure and risk management.

1. CIOs agree that IT transformation is critical

The survey found that 85% of CIOs think internal change is necessary within the IT organisation to keep up with demand. Against the backdrop of recent geopolitical disruption and the ongoing march of digital transformation, this is hardly surprising.

Organisational change is necessary for any business to succeed and grow; and it’s particularly needed within tech departments. The very nature of tech means constantly having to update solutions and tools to embrace the latest technologies. Continuing to evaluate their approach to internal operations – and their use of tech – is essential for organisations in order to pivot where necessary and grow.

2. The changes taking place are fundamental and broad

The research demonstrated that IT transformation is not just about systems modernisation or the shift to the cloud. For example, over half (54%) of CIOs have set a foundational IT transformation agenda, focusing on legacy modernisation within the past year. However, just a third (33%) set an infrastructure-focused IT transformation agenda around end-user computing. Over the past two years, CIOs have defined change as everything from business alignment through application lifecycle activities to risk management.

IT transformation isn’t all about legacy modernisation or the shift to the cloud. In fact, this highlights a wider issue in the industry – unconscious bias toward tech choices. Most of us have been ‘hardwired’ since a young age to think that new tech is better than old tech. While this may be the case in some instances, we need to take a step back and think critically about the situation. Only then can we fairly consider what solution or product offering is an appropriate fit for the brief. The key is to consider the business imperatives and outcomes and ensure your technology transformation is rooted in those.

3. Activity is firmly centred on driving business outcomes

Digital transformation is now a well-established priority in most boardrooms. As such, there are high expectations for how technology can be used to create a competitive advantage. However, it hasn’t always been this way. The role of technology in business has dramatically evolved over the past two decades. It’s no longer simply considered a tool to keep the business running; it’s fundamental to keep the business growing. The report supported these trends and found that the key objectives include improving the top and bottom lines, enhancing business innovation and competitiveness, and driving customer-related success.

4. There are still lots of challenges to overcome

The research found that progress is often constrained by time and resource limitations, skills shortfalls or inflexible legacy systems and processes.

Globally, the tech skills gap is one of the greatest issues facing organisations today. Unfortunately, this is an issue which has been worsening for the past decade or so. The gap primarily exists because technology has continued to play an increasingly prominent role across organisations in numerous industries. As a result, more jobs requiring digital skills are being created. This has meant that organisations are finding it increasingly difficult to fill their roles and secure new talent. This problem has been greatly exacerbated post-pandemic as The Great Resignation continues to wreak havoc across all industries.

5. The need for help from partners is strongly recognised

Finally, the report also found that a whopping five out of six CIOs say they can’t go it alone. They admitted to seeking support from partners to fill skills, experience, knowledge, and resource gaps. These figures highlight the importance of partner organisations in providing the missing element and leading the business to success.

Against the backdrop of the challenges reported, this was one of the most enlightening findings from this study. It relates to a problem that many tech professionals will recognise. When knowledge of best practice is limited, it can be easier to identify where a change is required than it is to figure out how best to actually implement that change. Specifically, 70% of CIOs acknowledged this as an issue. With time and resources already in short supply, it’s often difficult for organisations to schedule the necessary research and investigative work to fully explore relevant options. Add in the extra skills and bandwidth needed to implement any IT transformation initiative, and it’s understandable that so many see a clear role for partners.

The rise of methodologies including DevOps, AIOps (and newer concepts like FinOps) demonstrate the tech community’s commitment to collaboration. However, as technology is constantly evolving (and the skills needed to utilise it), ensuring a smooth interaction between teams may seem like a moving target. It’s up to CIOs to act as the shepherds, rallying their sheep together. It’s essential that they encourage further collaboration and communication between teams to improve awareness of their different workstreams, so they’re able to adapt as necessary.

We’ve outlined the five fundamental learnings from the research, but if you’re interested in reading further on the topic, you can find the report here.

Kyndryl (NYSE: KD) is the world’s largest IT infrastructure services provider. The company designs, builds, manages, and modernizes the complex, mission-critical information systems that the world depends on every day. Kyndryl’s more than 90,000 employees serve over 4,000 customers in more than 60 countries around the world, including 75 percent of the Fortune 100. For more information, visit


  1. Like the comment about ‘unconscious bias towards technology’ as it does expose the fact that digital transformation takes many forms. Yes, technology, but also people/skills, business processes, and partnerships.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here