On the heels of their recent study, Accelerating Business Transformation Through IT Innovation: Getting the Business Leader Take on the IT Change Mandate, we had a conversation with Dave Murray, head of thought leadership at the BPI Network. The study found that IT organizations increasingly want to use technology to drive innovation and business growth, and a big part of that is the ongoing re-tooling their data centers with the public and on-premises and managed cloud services.
The survey found, as covered in our Enterprises still struggle to leverage IT as tool to innovate, that while about 70 percent of those surveyed by BNI Network believe technology has become “far more important” to their business, 52 percent of respondents believe that their IT organizations are poor or just making progress. Only 42 percent say their IT groups are doing a good job of becoming a more strategic.
To get a sense of what is going on behind the survey, here is our Q & A with BNI Network’s Dave Murray.
DevOps.com: Your recent survey had interesting findings regarding how business leaders today view technology as important when it comes to innovation.
Murray: We found that 7 in 10 feel that technology is far more important to their business today than it was just five years ago. And we think that’s very, very significant.
DevOps.com: It is very interesting. How do you compare this to earlier times when technology was also viewed as very important to business innovation, such as the late 1990s when eCommerce was taking hold and enterprises were opening up all of their backend data to the Web? Do business leaders have more of a sense of urgency now, or do they feel the pace of change is more rapid?
Murray: I believe what they’re telling us is that they see technology today as more essential to business growth, to new business ventures, to the way they interact with customers than ever before in their experiences. And so the movement towards mobility, the movement towards digital business, the movement towards big data are all delivering real strategic value, and is really driving and enabling new competitors in their markets. So they see the need to get on top of technology as never before.
We did a study not long ago that looked at the impact of new business starts and new digitally driven companies, and we found that there was just a very significant recognition that these new ventures, technology-driven ventures, were disrupting traditional markets where business executives were operating. So I think there are a lot of components to why this is becoming more and more important to business executives.
DevOps.com: Technology is changing so fast now with mobility and cloud computing, and it looks like IoT is going to be a real thing, that the pace of change of technology is accelerating, so that would probably be a catalyst.
Murray: Absolutely. I think that’s part of that urgency. There’s a real sense that the game is changing more rapidly than ever before, and that they need to get on top of it as executives. And one of the findings is that business executives say they’re spending more of their time trying to understand the strategic implications of technologies than ever before. Which new ventures and new business opportunities within companies are virtually always now reliant on a technology to make them work. And so they’re trying to get on top of those strategic needs.
DevOps.com: It also seems that the survey picked up on a long-standing challenge in enterprises and that’s having a tight coupling between the need for innovation and technological transformation, and the ability to actually execute.
Murray: I think that one of the questions we asked was, “What do you see as the key metrics for measuring the performance of IT within your organizations?” And this idea of reliability, scalability, and security, the execution of the infrastructure is still the number one issue. But it’s closely followed by strategic, more business-oriented issues like being able to bring new ideas and new thinking to the table about how IT can improve the business and create new opportunities. And then the speed with which they can deliver on those new ideas with applications and faster development of new services.
So I think there’s a critical need for the expertise to maintain that infrastructure and obviously security and scalability are critical. But then also to more effectively collaborate with business, more effectively understand customer and customer needs, and come up with the architectural designs and applications that can meet those needs.
DevOps.com: Do you see this as kind of a do-or-die situation for companies that don’t master how to innovate with technology, or will they pay a heavy price for not being able to do so?
Murray: I think companies that do not figure out how to make their technology and their IT organizations and partnerships more effective at driving innovation and creating a more agile and responsive IT organization and infrastructure that can respond to business change are going to be in big trouble in the years ahead, without a question.
I think what we’re seeing is in virtually every industry, their technology is becoming, truly becoming part of the business and a major strategic driver of customer acquisition, the business model, the way the company operates, and I think that that’s going to continue to escalate. I think we’re always ahead of ourselves in terms of what we know technology can do, and then actually making it happen.