Listen to enough conference speakers, peruse enough analyst reports, and read enough trade press articles, and one can be forgiven for thinking that business and IT people aren’t even aware of each others’ existence. However, a new survey series suggests that they aren’t as far apart as it seems. Both groups recognize the power that new technologies bring to their businesses, and that there’s a pressing need to modernize as much as possible.
That’s the word from a new Harris Poll omnibus survey, sponsored by Appian. Business and IT executives don’t see eye to eye on everything, but they both can read the handwriting on the wall. The report’s authors talk about a gap between the thinking of business leaders and IT leaders. But the data seems to reveal the thinking of these two groups is more in alignment than previously thought.
A majority of both groups, for example, see the value of cloud. In contrast to other surveys that show IT executives are cautious about cloud, the Harris-Appian survey suggests they are greater proponents. When it comes to modernizing custom software, 70 percent of IT leaders suggest going to the cloud as an alternative. About 58 percent of business executives see the cloud as a viable alternative.
So, business leaders aren’t exactly being Luddites about cloud. In fact, they want to see new technology approaches to operations (60 percent), customer service (55 percent), and finance (50 percent). The survey results are based in the responses of 301 business executives from companies with more than $1 billion or more. The data was compared against data from a previous survey of 306 IT leaders.
Business executives also feel the challenges that are holding back their enterprise include ongoing maintenance of software/applications (47 percent), too many application and data silos (45 percent), high cost of software/application development (38 percent), and slow time to market/deployment of new applications (32 percent).
Business executives report high cost of software/application development (38%) and slow time to market/deployment of new applications
(32%) as problems their company hopes to address by investing in technology.
If the gap is closing between business and IT leaders, there may be a few factors at play:
- More Gen-Xers and Millennials are advancing up the corporate ladder. Members of this generation grew up with technology, and are comfortable with applying the consumer-ish technologies to which they are accustomed. Not to downplay the increasing tech savvy of Baby Boomers, who have been catching tech waves since Steve Jobs and Bill Gates burst on the scene in the early 1980s. These days, everybody across the enterprise — well outside of the IT sphere — is immersed in tech culture.
- Every organization, no matter what their industry, is now in the software and data business. Decisions and initiatives coming out the executive suite are likely to be highly tech-oriented. That means corporate leaders need to think more like software and data company leaders. It’s more likely, then, that tech-savvy business leaders will be rising faster through the corporate ranks.
- IT managers and professionals are getting more business savvy. This is an emphasis seen in college and university programs, as well as in corporate training and user group programs. IT pros clearly understand that their future success depends on how well they can address business requirements — and work closely with the business — in their work.
This article was written by Joe McKendrick from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.