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IT Isn't Keeping Up With Business Needs

By Drew Robb

We have been hearing for years that IT has not been keeping up with the needs of the business. Software-as-as-Service (SaaS) applications thrived as line of business (LOB) managers bypassed the IT procurement or development queue. In other words, IT was taking too long to evaluate, test, select, procure, deploy and go live with new applications. Organizations were assailed on all sides with all kinds of rogue SaaS and cloud applications. They would roll out a new contact database only to find various sales units preferred their own cloud versions.

That came to a head a few years ago. IT processes were supposed to have adapted to fast-track SaaS and cloud applications. Agile methodologies became all the rage to enable IT to set a much faster pace in development.

But the problem has not gone away, according to new research from MuleSoft. Its new report, “The State of Business and IT Innovation,” shows the situation may have gotten even more extreme. Surveys show:

  • 51% of business users are currently frustrated by the speed at which their IT team can deliver projects.

  •  68% think that IT and LOB should come together to jointly drive innovation.

  •  54% say they are frustrated by the challenge of connecting different IT systems and data sources.

  •  82% of LOB employees agree they need easy access to data and IT capabilities to be more productive and deliver projects faster.

Pandemic makes matters worse

This indicates a continuing disconnect between IT and LOB needs. And the ongoing pandemic may have exacerbated an already floundering relationship. According to the MuleSoft survey, only 37% of organizations have sufficient skills and technology to keep pace with increasing digital projects during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The virus, after all, has forced work from home on organizations everywhere. Businesses need remote access to their most prized tools. Management needs remote monitoring software to ensure its workforce shows up for the job and remains productive. Marketing and sales executives are having to work overtime to come up with new business models that can generate profits in a challenging environment. All of this has placed a major burden on an already stretched IT team. And with that team also working remotely with limited access to central servers and data centers, delays are inevitable.

IT budgets a problem too

To make matters worse, IT is now being reined in on the financial front. The easy option in the early months of the pandemic was to throw things into the cloud and take advantage of pay as you go rates. But that practice has reached breaking points in some organizations. Monthly expenditures for the cloud have soared. CFOs are crying foul.

How this is all going to play out is anyone’s guess. One scenario is that the financial pressure impacting IT teams may force cloud providers to get smarter and offer better services at more attractive rates. Startups, too, have a chance to thrive. Zoom and Microsoft Teams were early winners under Covid-19. Who knows what other innovation will arise to solve these pressing technology challenges.

 
This article was originally published on 01-09-2021