Nov 08 2017

Commvault GO 2017: Execs Want Digital Transformation, but IT May Not Be Ready

A survey commissioned by Commvault finds that executives recognize the need to transform their business models, but IT personnel say they lack the skill sets, tech and bandwidth to do so.

Digital transformation means embracing rapid change and using technology to be more efficient, create new business models and generate more revenue. Yet many businesses face hurdles in achieving digital transformation in their respective markets.

What’s one of the biggest challenges? There is a significant gap between what the C-suite and boardroom expect in terms of achieving digital transformation and what IT leaders and professionals say they can deliver, according to a new survey designed by Commvault and conducted by research firm Quadrant Strategies.

The survey, released this week at the Commvault GO 2017 conference at the National Harbor near Washington, D.C., found that IT personnel do not think they have the skills, IT or resources to master the data their company generates and uses to truly achieve digital transformation. Moreover, despite top executives’ desire to transform the business, the survey found that most IT executives prioritize day-to-day operations over innovation — and most IT pros working for them use their time accordingly.

The survey indicates that if executives want to change how their business operates via technology — whether that is the cloud, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence or software-defined networking — they need to give their IT leaders and staff the tools and time to do so. It also reveals that managing data will be an integral part of digital transformations moving forward.

The survey queried 450 IT executives and 750 IT personnel evenly distributed between the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the U.K./Ireland.

Data Is Key to Digital Transformation

Among CEOs surveyed in April by Gartner, 42 percent have a digital transformation business strategy in place. Technology industry leaders have indicated that businesses will need to reduce complexity in their IT environments as part of a digital transformation journey.

According to the survey, 53 percent of respondents say offering a high-quality service or product will help them succeed over the next few years and 52 percent cite the need for a long-term strategic plan. However, almost as many (51 percent) say better data collection and management will be key, 49 percent say new tools to analyze increasingly sophisticated data will be important and 44 percent cite the need for employees who are well-trained in data science and analytics.

As data becomes a more important element of business, 60 percent of respondents say they think their role will change radically over the next five years due to new technology, and that they will need to acquire new skills to stay relevant in their fields. Of those who think their roles will change dramatically, 58 percent say better data collection and management will be critical and 57 percent say the same about new tools to analyze increasingly sophisticated data.

Despite this, the IT leaders and pros surveyed feel they are not prepared for some key challenges. Only 36 percent say their organization is ready to move all data to the cloud, only 34 percent are ready for a project that involves bringing together all of the company’s data, and just 31 percent are prepared for a ransomware attack.

The survey reveals that organizations are still in the dark about how to manage their data. Only 59 percent of those surveyed say their companies have “formal, proactive initiatives to address the increasing importance of data.” More worryingly, 66 percent of respondents estimate that their company has access to half of its data or less.

Commvault CEO N. Robert Hammer says in a statement that the survey reveals

“nearly universal agreement on the importance of effectively managing data in order to innovate and accomplish the remarkable things required for creating a digital business and improving customer experience.”

“Meanwhile, every day we see evidence of leading-edge companies and progressive CIOs moving quickly to develop very sophisticated data management capabilities, providing the tools, time and training their teams need to be successful,” Hammer says.

Innovation Gets Short Shrift from IT

Despite the push for digital transformation, IT leaders are mostly focused on keeping the lights on, according to the survey.

When asked about top priorities for the IT department, 49 percent cite running the company's network; 47 percent say preparing for or working to prevent a cyberattack or data breach and 44 percent say resolving day-to-day employee needs and problems.

Given these priorities, IT staff say they spend most of their time on those day-to-day roles and only spend 7 percent of their time on using data science for Big Data analytics and 6 percent on understanding and preparing for innovation in the industry.

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