By Stan Lequin, VP & General Manager, Digital Innovation at Insight
Innovation is a business imperative no matter what industry you operate in. Companies that do not embrace the future and bring the full force of their creativity to bear risk obsolescence and, potentially, failure. That’s why we’re so focused on digital innovation here at Insight: It’s not just a buzzy concept; it’s the very heart of organizational success.
But innovation is not without its traps. Earlier this year, we conducted a survey of 400 IT decision-makers in the United States and Canada — our 2019 Intelligent Technology™ Index — to assess the topics, challenges and initiatives that are top-of-mind for tech executives at leading companies throughout North America.
The key finding: As companies’ access to sophisticated data increases, so do their worries about securing that data. We asked respondents to volunteer their top IT concern, and more than one-third cited security as their leading challenge. As organizations increasingly move towards cloud-based data management systems, 43 percent of respondents also say securing their data is among the top three challenges presented by a dispersed environment. Forty-one percent cite modernizing data protection and recovery.
And the issue isn’t poised to disappear anytime soon, especially as AI, machine learning and other advancements in technology generate more data, and honing the intelligence gleaned from this data grows central to companies’ innovation initiatives. In fact, 50 percent of respondents said that advanced data analytics have been critical to innovation over the past two years.
The outlook for innovation is by no stretch gloomy. Just as it poses its challenges, data-enabled modernization also presents tremendous opportunities for companies — and IT decision-makers — willing to seize them. Our survey respondents are very bullish about how they’re doing on the digital innovation front: 89 percent say their initiatives have been moderately to very successful, despite identifying top challenges like security, cost, expertise shortages and infrastructure delays.
So where has digital innovation made a difference for IT leaders and their organizations?
Efficiencies and cost reductions are two of the more obvious answers. Data can drive better decision-making and streamline a variety of processes to help save everyone at the organization time and money — but one area in particular is in building a modern, connected workplace. A workplace with technology that enables employees to work from anywhere at any time allows for improved productivity, a happier workforce, and a competitive advantage when it comes to hiring.
In practice, this means replicating the consumer experience when it comes to corporate IT, something more than three-quarters of respondents say is very or extremely important. This may look like allowing employees to select their own devices, or otherwise work from personal devices. Or taking it a step further, launching an internal IT e-commerce platform for selecting and purchasing devices and software.
IT leaders now have a variety of tools available to them to help maximize the data they need to create this experience for their colleagues. For example, subscription-based consumption models (leveraged by 72 percent of respondents) can ensure that the organization pays for exactly what it’s using, versus licensing software. Managed services also help free up IT’s time for more innovation and to address the company’s evolving technology needs.
What can help further accelerate digital innovation initiatives?
Setting aside the time and resources, as well as creating the space, for innovation is critical to success. But there are also some basic areas where organizations can make investments to advance these initiatives. Managing their IT supply chain is one such area.
Survey respondents recognize the importance of optimizing their procurement processes, with 63 percent who feel their IT supply chain is not adequately streamlined saying it’d improve workforce efficiency, 59 percent saying it’d free up time to focus on meaningful innovation projects, and 54 percent saying it’d decrease the time spent on troubleshooting.
Overall, the primary message that we took away from this year’s Insight Intelligent Technology™ Index is that innovation cannot exist in a vacuum if it’s to have a real impact on an organization’s success. That’s why getting back to basics — effectively managing and securing data, improving procurement processes, centering workforce productivity — is essential to making innovation work.
Stan leads Insight’s Digital Innovation team of more than 900 developers, architects, engineers and technical consultants dedicated to helping businesses innovate smarter. Every day his team enables clients’ true potential by translating technology’s capabilities into real business outcomes. Connect with Stan.