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by Peter Krass on 03/06/2019
Blog Category: Cloud & Data Centers

IT departments are generally failing to provide the new capabilities their organizations are clamoring for.

Worse, they’re not planning to do much about it, either!

So finds a new report from The Hackett Group. The consulting firm’s report is based on its survey of senior IT executives at large and midsized organizations, conducted in late 2018. The survey sought to determine organizations’ strategic priorities and initiatives for this year.

5 painful points

So what’s wrong with IT? The Hackett Group has identified 5 main problems:

> Short on necessary skills: Most IT departments lack employees with important new skills, especially around data analytics and modeling.

> Not customer-oriented: IT’s heads-down, back-office approach worked fine in the past. But it’s no longer what organizations need as they sharpen their focus on customers.

> Not agile, either: IT departments typically take a full year to deliver most solutions. They’re also unable to quickly absorb changing requirements or priorities.

> Resources in wrong places: IT staff and funding are still concentrated in the central data center. Instead, resources are now needed closer to business units, functions and customers.

> Siloed data: Data warehouses remain disparate and disconnected. The result: No one can find the data they need.

Serious as these problems are, it gets worse:

> Only 17% of respondents say they plan to do anything about them this year.

> Only 1 in 4 is addressing talent gaps and alignment issues.

> Fewer than 1 in 10 plan to modernize their data architecture.

“IT leaders don’t know how to fix their shortcomings systematically, or are overwhelmed by the breadth and depth of the challenge,” write the Hackett Group report’s authors. “Either way, the survey results cast doubt on IT’s ability to effectively partner with stakeholders in the business’s digital transformation.”

Help wanted

What’s all this mean for tech providers? Well, a customer’s problem could be your business opportunity. Hackett Group helpfully suggests 5 areas where your data-center customers need to take action:

> Add skills: With help from HR, IT needs to figure out what new tech skills are needed. Then it needs to figure out ways to either train or recruit workers with these skills.

> Marshall analytics: Assuming some workers do have data-analytics skills, consider creating an analytics center of excellence. This is a powerful way of pooling resources.

> Modernize the data architecture: Data analytics can’t work without a foundation of data blending, data lakes, and integration among data warehouses. Simple data-visualization tools are helpful, too.

> Get more agile: IT needs to become more responsive. New technologies can help, including robotic process automation (RPA) and self-service tools.

> Focus on customers: New role models can show IT how to shift its priorities from delivering projects to satisfying customers. Ideally, IT’s new culture will also make room for experimentation and calculated risk-taking.

Thanks to digital transformation, the IT department has never been more important. But due to its own legacy, IT has never been so challenged, either.

Tech providers have a valuable role to play. Those who can help their IT customers get with the program should be rewarded richly.