The challenge of adopting new tech — a concern for business leaders

Seven in ten business leaders are concerned about their firm's ability to adopt new technology, as over half don't increase their IT budget.

IT is increasingly underpinning operations, business models, customer interactions and more. The department is becoming critical to organisation’s across industries.

IT’s role in organisations has transformed; moving from a function that kept the lights on to the centre of organisation innovation.

Despite this, 70% of UK business leaders have admitted to being concerned about their organisation’s ability to adopt new technology, according to the an Index released today.

This may have something to do with not increasing tech spend. According to the Index, 48% of business leaders have not increased IT budgets since 2017; with the figure going up to 68% for small and medium businesses.

Only 41% of IT organisations receiving a budget increase in 2018; this poses the questions: do business leaders consider IT investment a business priority or a hindrance?

See also: What is the expanding role of IT within the business? – IT is now central to businesses in terms of revenue, growth and strategic direction, and the development of ‘big software’ is providing businesses with a larger infrastructure to keep up with growing demands.

Struggling to adapt

Different departments are struggling to adapt to IT’s ever-expanding role in organisations.

“Business leaders must recognise that investing in technology to improve internal operations and processes is as critical as the investments they are making in enhancing the customer experience. Without adequate resources to support IT’s many and expanding responsibilities, the function becomes a burden on the company rather than a differentiator for competitive advantage,” said Lal Hussain, Director of IT Applications, Insight.

“When a smooth client experience at the front end is linked to an inefficient back-end, organisations risk delivering, at best, an average overall result. This means that even industries and organisations that are traditionally reluctant to ride the wave of digitisation need to rethink their approach or else risk missing future growth opportunities.”

Related: ‘1 in 3 UK’ businesses slow to adopt new technology – The adoption of technology into the enterprise is vital to drive innovation and stave off disruption, but a recent study finds adoption in the UK is lacking.

The cloud: The answer to business transformation?

For organisations to truly transform, or embark on a digital journey, they need to adopt powerful new technologies that enable more flexible workforces and unlock the value from innovations in areas such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.

With almost all of organisations acknowledging that cloud solutions enable them to do this quickly, and at a lower cost than setting up in-house, cloud is seen as increasingly critical to doing business.

So far in 2018, Software-as-a-Service is the most utilised cloud service for 65% of Index respondents, followed by Infrastructure-as-a-Service (58%) and Security-as-a-Service (49%).

When it came to reaping the benefits of cloud, over half highlighted a more flexible and collaborative IT environment as the main benefit, followed by a safer data environment and better remote access.

See also: The move to the cloud: It’s all about digital transformation – Agility, flexibility, scalability and eventually, digital transformation (or digitisation). This is why organisations are moving to the cloud in their droves.

Budgets must grow to reflect IT’s critical role

The benefits of increased IT spend and particularly investments in cloud services are obvious, but more can be achieved when it comes to the role of the IT department within an organisation. Increasing IT budgets is necessary.

The top areas business leaders believe their technology spend budget needs to grow include security, cloud, customer relationship management and mobile.

“For an organisation to fully reap the benefits of modern IT services, business leaders must come to the realisation that IT is not a cost centre, it’s an innovation centre. IT budgets should not be viewed as a burden, but as the opportunity to enter and succeed in the digital age,” said Hussain.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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