2017 Intelligent Technology Index — Key Takeaways
Insights is out with its 2017 Intelligent Technology Index report, which outlines the trends and impact of current and future technologies on business. All in all, the report talks about how the future will be riddled with unparalleled complexity, with emerging technologies such as big data, analytics, and security posing new challenges.
But within these challenges, experts see opportunities, which only those organizations that are nimble and responsive, will grab. This flexibility will need to manifest not only at the leadership levels but throughout the organizational hierarchies, by empowering employees. Clearly, technology will play a crucial role in business in the years to come, and IT leaders will be at the forefront of driving this strategic contribution.
The results indicate a strong affinity towards technology, with 85% strongly or somewhat agreeing that their company leadership believed they are an IT company at heart. This is a distinct shift from technology being a business-enabler, to being the core of the business itself. Moreover, a dual-fold IT approach is fast emerging — 63% of IT personnel said that their companies adopted a two-pronged approach, focussing on IT operations at one end and on innovation at the other. In fact, a majority chunk of organizations feels that they have imbibed this approach very well, with 97% agreeing to this statement.
This change in approach is helping organizations intricately weave the latest of technologies into their product or service offerings. 22% of the respondents agreed that product development was the department with the maximum influence over technology decisions. It indicates that IT has moved beyond mere support and is now ingrained in the business model. It comes as no surprise that we are seeing the rise of highly integrated solutions such as IT-marketing solutions, tech-friendly organization structures, and customer messaging.
Despite this positive changing landscape, organizations face some very pertinent challenges. Moving to the new-age integrated realms of technology involves managing hardware and software integration without affecting the core technology architecture. Gaps exist in this skill, with nearly 58% of respondents assessing their current IT infrastructure as ‘B’ grade. The key concerns are maintaining IT infrastructure and using IT to improve customer experience. 49% of the survey takers expressed this. In fact, 30% of the IT professionals mentioned that ongoing maintenance and support were a pain point and would continue to be so in the long term.
IT professionals see the need to add new capabilities for the long term, to be able to live up to the technology needs of tomorrow. This is because new technologies are causing large-scale disruption. For example, one-third of organizations that have invested in the cloud, see it as highly disruptive for the future. Cloud is an area where organizations see much value.
84% of medium and large organizations have invested in cloud services in 2016 and nearly 50% of these have migrated more than 50% of their applications to the cloud. 57% of these companies have invested in software-as-a-cloud service and 51% in security-as-a-cloud service. This is because IT and business leaders today see a tangible benefit from investing in the cloud. 61% of IT leaders indicated a more flexible and collaborative IT environment, 59% believed that their data environment was now safer, and 55% experienced better remote access. Despite this, challenges are seen in the form of data security (63% respondents) and data availability (30% respondents).
It is high time that organizations plan and prepare to overcome these challenges early on by upping their technology and IT leadership skills. The CIOs of today and tomorrow will need to drive this change, taking on direct responsibility for IT impact on the company’s bottom line. The technology domain must get closer than ever to the customer. We can see this happening to some extent, with 49% of IT professionals focusing on improving the customer experience, and 38% focusing on more consistent customer engagement. The Internet of Things (IoT) is one such avenue to increase customer-centricity of IT and tech, and nearly 50% of the companies surveyed have turned to IoT to make this happen.
The report highlights how there is a distinct shift in nature and the expectations from IT and technology. Organizations must adopt new technologies and create a tech-centric organizational strategy to ride over the challenges. This is already happening with 37% of the respondent companies planning to align their 2017 IT budgets to the maintenance of existing equipment and 32% to the adoption of new technologies. Yet, the focus should also be on building IT leadership skills such as collaboration, people management, and being business-savvy that will significantly impact the future of technology.
The survey collected responses from 401 IT professionals across companies with zero up to 1,000 employees. The respondents were selected such that they were responsible for at least two of the following three: management and supervision of IT systems, determination of IT needs for the company, and approvals or selection of IT consultants.