UK business leaders say success and technology background linked

The majority of business leaders in the UK, according to the VMware study, say that CEOs and executive leadership positions should be filled by personnel with a background in technology, such as app or software development.

When identifying particular benefits provided by technology backgrounds, 42% of respondents highlight improved efficiency across the organisation, while 39% cited improved customer experiences, and 33% recognise increased business performance and greater innovation potential.

In regards to the benefits of modernised applications to prepare companies for continued operation during the pandemic, 58% of UK businesses said that modernised apps play a role in ensuring effective remote working, while 35% identified reliable uptime as an advantage, and 31% referenced their ability to continuously push updates in response to the changing landscape.

In addition, 81% of UK app developers and technology leaders believe that a best-in-class customer experience would not be possible without successfully modernising applications.

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“Business leaders have never been at the helm of so much change, so those with an inherent knowledge of technology and an understanding of how applications can help them adapt to any market conditions and shape their future performance and resiliency have a real advantage,” said Ed Hoppitt, director of apps and cloud native platforms EMEA at VMware.

“From the tens of millions of people and students now working and educating from home, to banks being able to scale to provide significant revenue streams, to businesses and retailers looking at digital platform options almost overnight, this pandemic has driven a decade of digital transformation in a few months.

“It is the ability to get these defining, business apps, which deliver information and services into the hands of users, where needed, that creates success and genuinely drives customer engagement. Leadership with technology in its DNA combined with a software-enabled digital foundation to serve up these digital services is a winning combination.”

Ursula Dolton, CTO at British Heart Foundation, commented: “Businesses risk missing a trick by not appointing C-suite execs with backgrounds in technology. It is no longer enough to simply invest in technologies, since their benefits to organisations go well beyond implementation.

“In order to get the most from these investments, it’s vital to deliver cultural change and strategic direction, a role best suited for leaders with an understanding of these platforms and the power to both respond to demand and enforce real change.”

Competitive advantage

Elsewhere in the VMware survey, the continuous development and delivery of new applications and services is seen as a key factor in maintaining a competitive advantage.

66% of new applications were found to make it through to production in EMEA-based companies displaying at least 15% annual growth in revenue, compared to 41% of firms displaying 0% or negative growth.

Additionally, 70% of application efforts made it to production within the planned time frame in high-performing organisations, compared to 41% in underperforming companies.

VMware interviewed 2,250 business and IT decision makers and app developers in EMEA (including 450 from the UK), who represented companies with at least 500 employees.

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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.