IT Goals Focus on Empowering People

The focus of information technology (IT) is on empowering people, both employees and customers. Today’s IT departments understand that fact. Improving employee productivity and efficiency is a top priority and drives IT investment strategies.

Enterprise IT executives believe they carry a mandate to empower the developers driving digital transformation and the people who depend on the systems they oversee, not just employees but also the enterprise’s customers. They view their initiatives as enabling their organization to deliver better experiences to these people, as well as enhancing their efficiency and productivity.

Figure 1 shows that 4 of the 6 strongest IT motivators are business-needs-oriented, with the top motivator being to drive employee productivity. While security and operational cost reduction remain in the top six, other areas IT seeks to improve include business responsiveness, customer experience, and data-driven business outcomes, all of which involve the timely delivery of resources to the developers of experience- and data-driven applications.

Business Needs Garner More Attention than Traditional IT Initiatives

n = 810
Source: IDC's IT Transformation Survey

This focus on business outcomes becomes especially sharp when comparing Digital Leaders to Digital Laggards. Leaders show considerably greater focus on development and business enablers like agility and responsiveness while Laggards are strongly oriented toward cost and risk minimization, as shown in Figure 2.

Leaders Are More Focused on Strategic Outcomes

Source: IDC's IT Transformation Survey

Figure 3 shows that Leaders have a much more service-oriented strategy for their IT investments than Laggards, with about twice the rate of investment to improve insights, compliance, and effectiveness.

Leaders' IT Is More Strategic and Service Centric

n = 810
Source: IDC's IT Transformation Survey

While it’s encouraging to see leadership widely recognizing the paramount importance of their human stakeholders in IT’s overall success, the unfortunate fact is that more respondents viewed central IT as a barrier to this success (42%) than as an enabler of business success and innovation (34%).

Even more interestingly, Digital Leaders and Transformers, the next-most successful group, are more likely to view central IT as a barrier to success and innovation than Explorers and Laggards (see Figure 4). In fact, Leaders are nearly 30 times more likely to view central IT as a strong barrier to success than Explorers or Laggards.

Leaders Are More Likely to See Central IT as a Barrier to Success

n = 810
Source: IDC's IT Transformation Survey

This finding does not necessarily indicate that Leaders run less successful central IT organizations than less mature organizations. Rather, the Line of Business and developer teams in the Leaders and Transformers categories have higher expectations of their central IT functions.

They have better knowledge of how IT can contribute to business success, and greater awareness of the gaps IT has yet to fill. This increased cognizance leads to lower levels of satisfaction with similar IT performance across organizations of different maturity levels.

Leaders and Laggards see the advantages of a modern, agile, flexible datacenter differently. Laggards place their focus almost entirely on getting their core infrastructure and processes right, including aspects such as modernizing their architecture, software-defined infrastructure, and implementing cloud development platforms. In contrast, Leaders place even greater focus on what their people can do with their infrastructure. This includes developing new services that leverage advanced analytics and enabling them to effectively using hybrid cloud environments, across private clouds, public cloud infrastructure, or a growing range of innovative SaaS offerings.