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IT Leaders Grapple with Optimization, Funding Challenges, On- and Off-Premises Platform Decisions: IDG Survey

98% of business strategies rely on IT, but IT readiness is a work in progress

TEMPE, Ariz. – Nearly all IT executive survey respondents report that IT is crucial or very important to their business strategy, according to a new IDG Research Services survey commissioned by Datalink, a division of Insight Enterprises (Nasdaq: NSIT). However, a number of hurdles are hindering progress to meet the needs of the business. IT leaders report difficulties in freeing up funds to invest in IT innovations to advance the business. In addition, while IT optimization levels show some year-over-year improvement, work continues on the journey to transform technology, skills, and processes to meet business needs. Lastly, while respondents report leveraging a hybrid cloud strategy, assessing which workloads are best suited for on- and/or off-premises cloud platforms is challenging due to difficulties in determining security, data storage, and data access requirements, as well as defining a multi-site strategy.

The survey—Stakes Rise for IT: The IT Transformation Journey—polled senior IT leaders (70% were VP or C-Level IT executives; 30% were directors) from large enterprises regarding business and IT strategies, IT optimization opportunities and challenges, as well as cloud-related strategy and execution considerations.

Key findings:

  • 98% said IT is crucial or very important to business strategy. Efficiency, customer service, agility, and digital transformation are the top four business strategies IT will focus on in the next 12 months.
  •  Approximately 25% (up from nearly 10% in 2016) rate their IT environments as fully optimized in areas ranging from application workload management to process standardization and team staffing models. Thirty percent (down from nearly 50% in 2016) of respondents rank their optimization level between 1 and 6 on a scale of 1 to 10, indicating room for improvement.
  • More than 50% said funding IT innovation is extremely challenging. Two-thirds of the IT budget is spent on “keeping the lights on” vs. innovation and business-advancing initiatives. This allocation is expected to shift over the next two years in favor of innovation/business advancing investments.

Respondents report leveraging a hybrid cloud model, but faced some challenges:

  • The balance of workloads currently on public and private cloud platforms is relatively even today and will not shift much over the next two years.
  • More than 50% who have deployed workloads to public cloud have brought one or more back in-house. This represents a 14% increase over those reported in 2016. The top four reasons for moving workloads back in-house were: level of control over resources or data, compliance, reliability / performance, and security.
  • 75% are more cautious versus one year ago when making the decision to move particular applications or workloads to public cloud. Security continues to be a primary concern before deploying workloads in a public cloud platform.
  • Respondents plan to leverage a third-party to some degree to assist with determining compliance requirements, assessing scalability requirements, and performing application interdependency analysis.

“The stakes have never been higher for IT leaders to transform IT to advance the business,” said Shawn O’Grady, Senior VP and General Manager, Datalink. “This survey illustrates that IT optimization is not a quick fix. Transformations such as these span processes, skills, and technology and take time to successfully assess and execute. Business and IT executives need to be in lockstep to ensure IT helps advance the business.”

The complete survey is available at www.datalink.com/TransformIT.

Methodology

The survey received 142 complete qualified respondents and was fielded online in the U.S. from September 15, 2017 through September 25, 2017. Respondents were required to work in an IT-related function at the Director level or above. Qualified respondents are employed at a companies with an average of 23,000 employees.

About Datalink

Datalink, a division of Insight, is a complete IT services and solutions provider that helps companies transform their technology, operations and service delivery to meet business challenges. Combining extensive experience, a full lifecycle of services and a comprehensive approach to producing IT innovations that empower positive business outcomes, Datalink delivers success across cloud IT transformation, next generation technology, and security. Parent company Insight Enterprises (Nasdaq: NSIT) is a Fortune 500-ranked global provider of hardware, software, cloud and service solutions. For more information, call 800.448.6314 or visit datalink.com.