Digital Transformation Bogged Down by Fighting Fires

Tuesday Jan 31st 2017 by Pedro Hernandez
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A study from Dimension Data and IDC finds that digital transformation takes a back seat to resolving issues at many IT departments.

Digital transformation may be a priority among many senior executives, but their IT departments may be too busy fighting fires to move those efforts along.

A new study from IT services provider Dimension Data, conducted by IDC, finds that IT staffers are spending 30 percent of their time on issue resolution and new service requests. Only 15 percent of their time is spent on driving innovation, a 25 percent decline from a year ago.

IT personnel routinely spend 40 percent of their time on maintaining SLAs (service-level agreements), systems monitoring and troubleshooting. They also devote 21 percent of their time patching, updating and tuning their systems. Another 11 percent is devoted to installing hardware.

Meanwhile, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, big data analytics and other transformative technologies are proliferating in enterprise environments. Alas, most IT and development teams are ill-prepared, according to the survey of IT and senior managers at 275 enterprises.

Only 14 percent of respondents said their infrastructure was primed for digitization, a chilling prospect considering that two-thirds of those polled described their IT operations as core to their business. The survey also found that most companies monitor and tune their IT environments in less than a cohesive manner, stymying efforts to adopt next-generation workloads.

At some organizations, there seems to be a fundamental disconnect between IT and other departments. Ten percent of companies reported that their business objectives and IT operations were not in alignment. Only 27 percent said their business strategies and IT were on the same page. Another 26 percent consider IT a strategic asset that helps drive their business outcomes.

The study also reveals that a lack of automation is keeping many IT organizations from realizing their potential.

Only 20 percent of respondents said their infrastructures were fully automated and optimized. Twenty-five percent consider themselves highly automated while 32 percent have reached a middle ground in terms of automation and orchestration. Thirteen percent admitted to constrained levels automation while 9 percent have no automation capabilities to speak of.

"Successful digital transformation requires the right mix of people, processes, and tools," concluded Bill Padfield, group executive at Dimension Data's Services division, in a statement. "However, IT service automation platforms are expensive and time consuming to develop and successfully integrate into hybrid IT environments."

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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