According to new research from virtualisation specialists VMware announced today, 80% of IT decision makers in the UK believe there is a significant gap between what the business wants and when IT can deliver it. This compares to only 65% of IT decision makers across Europe. In the UK, the average gap is five months, with over a quarter believing that the gap is between seven and 18 months.
This misalignment between business and IT can carry significant ramifications for the performance, competitiveness and growth prospects of organisations. In the UK, IT decision makers cited the reduced likelihood of innovation across all departments (51%), reduced staff productivity (52%) and loss of customers to more agile competitors (35%) as the most significant implications of the gap.
These percentages are significantly higher than the rest of Europe, suggesting the impact on UK businesses – and their competitiveness, innovation and productivity – is greater than other countries in the region.
As companies grapple with the new era of IT, this gap adds to the growing pressure IT is under. The research by Vanson Bourne, commissioned by VMware, finds that 64% of UK IT decision makers feel their department is under pressure from the CEO, CTO or board to modernise IT in the next 12 months. Beyond the ongoing challenge of reducing the cost of IT (69%, these departments specifically have been tasked with increasing the mobility of the workforce (57%) and moving more infrastructure to the cloud (42%).
‘A lag of almost half a year between what the business expects of IT and what it can deliver is huge. We cannot underplay the pressure IT departments face in this new mobile cloud era, as they balance a need to maximise value from existing systems alongside the necessity to deploy new technologies,’ says Joe Baguley, Chief Technology Officer, EMEA, VMware.
‘We’re hearing time and again that businesses see IT as a driver of innovation; it has to be part of future, not part of the furniture. Organisations of all sizes need an IT infrastructure that can scale up and down with business demand, increase automation to reduce management burden and help improve productivity and support innovation. Investment needs to shift so that IT can genuinely impact the business and reduce the gap.’
The pressure surrounding IT delivery is a challenge felt by many enterprises. The research found that nearly three-quarters (71%) of UK IT decision makers recognise that smaller competitors can more rapidly implement modern IT and therefore react quicker to market changes. As a result, nearly two-thirds (60%) of these respondents felt either concerned or threatened by smaller businesses.
According to Angus Gregory, CEO, Biomni, a UK-based company specialising in cloud-delivered service catalogue and request fulfilment solutions, ‘With the pace at which we operate, it’s critical that we have an IT infrastructure that enables us to adapt quickly to business needs – we cannot afford to have a gap between IT delivery and business strategy. Moving to a new IT model with a hybrid cloud solution has improved business agility and enabled faster delivery of services. There’s no longer frustration about how quickly we can meet customers’ demands, but a focus on how we can create innovative new ways to attract and impress them.’
Commenting on the findings, Rob Harborn, Senior Economist, Centre for Economics and Business Research, said: ‘As economies move from recovery mode into a period of growth and optimism, the pace of business is faster than ever. With this new wave of IT innovation taking place right before us, organisations are in a race to find better and quicker ways to align business expectations with IT delivery. There is a demonstrable impact on organisational performance for those that can closely align the two. Those that cannot will may be forever hampered in their efforts to maximise productivity as the growth agenda returns.’
Baguley concluded: ‘We are working with many customers across the globe to help them implement true hybrid cloud technology to increase their competitiveness and agility, and dramatically reduce the gap between business expectation and IT delivery.’
In addition to further investment (76%) and becoming closer aligned with business objectives (61%), 57% of UK IT decision makers identified the need to recruit more skilled talent as being key to reducing the gap.