If a recently published report by Salesforce is to be believed, the rest of IT leadership is starting to catch up with what IT leaders have long known: Business technology needs to be customer experience-driven. This year’s report, Salesforce’s second annual broad look at the state of enterprise IT found that the line continues to blur between business leadership and IT leadership, driving innovation is the imperative, and IT is focused more than ever on providing business value.
According to the “2017 State of IT Research” report, based on a survey of about 2,200 technology leaders worldwide, 71 percent of organizations reported they are shifting efforts from technology being a cost center to becoming a “value-based service brokerage over the next 12 to 18 months.”
“Instead of being viewed as a cost center, IT is emerging as a value-based service brokerage,” the report states. “The old model of IT as a maintainer of the status quo infrastructure is giving way to a new mindset, in which IT adds innovative capabilities that bring a competitive edge to the business. Seventy-four percent of IT leaders say the business teams they partner with believe IT is the biggest driver of business success.”
How are IT teams gauging their success? They’re measuring success based on satisfaction scores. A sizable 74 percent of IT leaders said that such business satisfaction scores are a leading key performance indicator, IT teams are only delivering on 56 percent of their customer-facing initiatives. With such less-than-flattering results, it’s no surprise that 67 percent of IT teams said that improving their collaboration with other lines of business is a high priority—second only to improving security policies and practices in priorities.
This inability of some enterprises to execute on business initiatives couldn’t come at a worse time, as every company is tasked with becoming as agile and competitive as possible during a time of critical business disruption. According to the survey, Top IT teams are three and a half times more likely than underperforming teams to say it’s a critical priority to innovate for industry disruption.
It’s important to note that Salesforce didn’t quantify the performance of the enterprise teams surveyed; instead, the respondents self-identified as underperformers, moderate performers or high performers against their competition.
One of the biggest challenges IT has when it comes to innovating is the sheer amount of time they must spend keeping up on the basics, such as infrastructure. “Even with all the talk of prioritizing innovation, IT leaders still spend more time on tasks that keep the lights on (54 percent of their time, on average). A majority of IT leaders are moving to automate routine tasks so their teams have more time to innovate,” Salesforce wrote.
According to the survey, about half, 52 percent, said that legacy technologies are a challenge to meeting strategic objectives.
Finally, moving at speed remains a challenge as well. “Sixty-seven percent of IT leaders say improving the speed of development cycles is a high priority. And while speed is an important success metric, it’s also a top challenge. To improve, IT leaders are exploring options such as low-code solutions and citizen development. Some concerns—namely, security and insufficient governance or training—still hold IT teams back from putting business users into the driver’s seat,” Salesforce wrote.
Where do they stand now? Just under half, at 47 percent, can deploy an app in under a month. Based on my reporting that’s quite an improvement in deployment time from just a year ago, and I think what we are seeing here are the fruits from agile, DevOps, continuous delivery, and low-code development platforms. And the half of enterprises that can’t deliver at speed are going to find themselves deeper and deeper down a competitive hole.