C-Suite Holding Back DX?

In January this year Interoute published a survey that showed half the UK’s IT leaders believe lack of consensus from the C-suite was holding back digital transformation. We were uncertain about this so asked a few questions.

According to Interoute, the cloud and network provider, 51% of UK IT leaders are struggling to secure boardroom consensus for achieving digital transformation objectives. The UK result is significantly higher than the European average, which came in at 41% and more than any of the eight other countries surveyed.

“Without a clear route forward agreed by the C-Suite, many IT professionals will find it difficult to progress critical digital transformation projects, risking UK businesses being left behind,” explained Mark Lewis, EVP products and development at Interoute. “With Brexit on the horizon, the UK faces unprecedented change and uncertainty in the market and it’s fair to assume this is impacting decision making at the highest level. But it’s never been more important for UK businesses to haul their IT talent out of running just the day-to-day business systems, and into creating the business processes and customer experiences that will make their products and services outstanding.

“It is vital to get buy-in at the highest levels of any organisation to make the changes necessary that will allow businesses to progress and keep pace with the digital economy. IT professionals need the support of the whole business to be able to deliver the digital foundation business needs for future growth.”

When ranking challenges for achieving digital transformation objectives IT decision makers surveyed were on average most concerned about their ability to integrate legacy technologies with cloud enabled applications (55%). This was closely followed by uncertainty around the changing political climate (52%) and a lack of talent/skills available to drive projects (52%).

“IT skills are in short supply for businesses across Europe, which is why leadership is needed to avoid being left behind in this new digital world,” Mark Lewis concluded. “To make the most of the opportunities presented by digital transformation, IT professionals must work together with C-Suite executives to act quickly and decisively. With the support, direction and consensus of the C-Suite, digital transformation can be accelerated to the benefit of the entire organisation.”

Comms Business Magazine (CBM): Does Interoute believe that the IT department is the only key to unlock the customer experiences central to a successful DX?

Steve Mace, Senior Director UK Channel, Interoute (SM): In the channel there is a real opportunity for partners to use their relevant IT and organisational experience to help their customers align their functional and strategic objectives, ultimately offering a faster route to successful transformation. Increasingly, stakeholders are turning to IT to weave together their organisation’s assets, including third party services, to gain access to a wider array of options and associated advantages. This will enable these businesses to operate with agility, flexibility and speed, allowing them to stay lean and competitive. For the majority of companies, digital transformation is seen as a bigger strategic initiative that allows businesses to fend off disruption, create competitive advantage through innovation, engage more meaningfully with their customers and optimise IT for cost and efficiency.

CBM: In retrospect, do you believe that asking other non-IT senior management, e.g., Marketing, Sales, Service etc., might have provided a more holistic view of digital transformation?

SM: While digital transformation is impacting all parts of the business, in our experience the IT department is still the first port of call and a conduit for digital challenges. Technology decision making has become more strategic, helping organisations to pivot for success in the face of uncertainty and prepare for a multitude of shifts in an unpredictable climate. We surveyed senior IT decision makers to gain their peer-to-peer insights from the frontline on how digital disruption, geo-political and economic change is affecting British businesses, their desire for change and digital transformation. Any solution provider can take valuable insight from these learnings and evolve their own marketing and sales efforts; success will then correlate to the partner’s cross-functional sales discipline which should engage both vertically and horizontally with every prospect and customer.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine