Having IT Transformation Challenges? You’re Not Alone.

By Datalink

If your IT transformation initiatives are hitting more bumps than you anticipated, you’re in good company. A just-released IDG survey commissioned by Insight’s Cloud + Data Center Transformation reveals that many organizations are experiencing a rocky ride on the road to transformation. In fact, despite some areas of progress, most are still in the very early stages of the journey and 15% haven’t even started discussing strategy. 

Stalled projects and transformation struggles

The survey, “The Challenge of Change: IT in Transition”, examined the IT transformation experiences of 200 IT executives from companies with a median of 6,250 employees. Responses paint a picture of IT teams buffeted by strong headwinds in getting transformation projects under way and across the finish line. Among the findings:

  • Many organizations are stuck at first base, with 44% of respondents having made no transformation-related process, operational, or technology changes to date. 
  • Stalled and abandoned projects are common, with 51% having suspended or dropped one or more initiatives because of unexpected complications.
  • Legacy IT infrastructure is a major stumbling block, leading the top five factors hampering transformation efforts.
  • Cloud confusion presents an additional impediment, marked by difficulties in determining which workloads should move to the cloud and choosing cloud deployment models, the lack of tools to support and monitor cloud applications, and more.
  • Cloud readiness is another obstacle, considering that only 42% of in-house or commercially developed applications are optimized to support cloud storage consumption. 
Efforts to move forward may also be stymied by budgetary constraints, policy disagreements, internal resistance to change, and inadequate planning. 

For example, 24% of survey respondents have no documented cloud strategy even though they may be running workloads in the cloud, and only 28% have both documented and communicated their cloud strategy to ensure buy-in from all parties. IT transformation is as much cultural as technological, and failure to set the stage for cultural change can cause as many setbacks as choosing the wrong hyperconverged platform or cloud provider. 

Hybrid cloud advances the journey

Hurdles aside, the survey results suggest several interesting trends among organizations that are succeeding in making headway in their IT transformation journey. 

For one, enterprises that have embraced a hybrid cloud approach appear to be experiencing gains and accelerating the transformation process. Sixty-three percent of survey respondents who reported enterprise-wide progress toward IT transformation use a mix of public cloud and on-premises workload deployments, compared to just 23% with a cloud-only strategy and 14% who have rejected a “cloud first” policy.

Responses also show that people and process changes are often implemented before technology changes, among those who have made some progress toward transformation. Four of the top five steps taken by organizations thus far include: reorganization to support IT strategy (64%), defining new skills required (57%), defining roles and responsibilities (52%), and recruiting or hiring people with needed skill sets (50%). The only technology-related step in the top five is defining data storage and protection requirements (54%), and the majority of technology-focused tasks, such as performing an application inventory, occur much later in the timeline.

Additionally, the survey explores the top challenges in executing transformation initiatives, such as skills gaps and meeting evolving skill needs as the journey progresses. Results point to inconsistencies when defining “cloud first,” cloud strategy hurdles, and factors that influence the cloud-versus-on-premises decision. 

The full survey results and associated report are posted at www.datalink.com/Transform.