“Executing on the blueprint for the future enterprise” was one of the mottos at the latest IDC CIO Leaders Forum, an information-sharing and networking platform for a select chief information officers group from the top 500 companies in Europe. A pre-summit survey of nearly 50 executives — IT leaders in some of Europe’s largest enterprises — resulted in valuable insights into the future of IT modernisation. Here’s what they had to say.

Speed, speed, speed

The biggest takeaway from the survey was about speed. Over half of respondents (56 per cent) totally agreed — and a further 26 per cent agreed — that their organisations need to be able to operate, evolve and adapt IT at the speed and pace that the business requires.

Further, when asked about the importance of “transforming for speed so your organisation can move faster than the competition”, 30 per cent said it is very important and another 52 per cent said it is important. Optimising for speed, going at the speed of business — these factors were routinely singled out as the most important elements moving forward.

Every organisation wants to move faster than the competition, but gaining speed also requires making very challenging technological, organisational and cultural changes. A multi-disciplinary approach can drive cultural change, enable IT architectures to make data more accessible, improve software throughput, and deliver more speed from developers. The survey highlighted some of the priorities and challenges.

Priority one was to “build an innovative business platform”, cited by 41 per cent as being important and by 28 per cent as very important. Next was the need to “simplify and optimize IT”, cited by 48 per cent as being important and by 23 per cent as very important.

Respondents agreed that IT modernisation is difficult, with efforts often hitting a brick wall and stalling the business. Over half of the respondents pointed to overly complex systems, explaining that it’s a challenge to integrate mission-critical systems with new digital services. Overly complex systems prevent organisations from focusing on their strategic agendas, and aging IT estates can run up costs, impede quality and slow the pace of change.

A little under half of the leaders surveyed also pointed out the talent and skills shortage — the fact that highly skilled people are hard to find, as well as costly to hire.

While the focus remains on modernising IT, 87 per cent of respondents, either agreed or totally agreed that the need to maintain a baseline of quality, security and continuous optimisation remains paramount.

 

For more on IT modernization, read the white paper, “Use IT modernization to accelerate and scale business transformation.”