Enterprise digital transformation initiatives continue to stall: Why a long-term approach is needed

Everyone is talking about their digital transformation initiatives; but for many companies, that’s as far as it gets.

According to a new survey from Insight Enterprises, put together by IDG, more than half (51%) of the 200 IT executives surveyed – whose employers average more than 6,000 workers each – admit initiatives have either been stalled or abandoned.

What’s more, those projects that are ongoing are going ahead at a glacial pace. 44% of those polled said their organisations had not yet made process, operational, or technology changes. 15% said digital transformation was ‘on their radar’, meaning they hadn’t started altogether.

Naturally, plenty of barriers exist when it comes to getting projects together. Two in three (64%) said their legacy IT infrastructure was to blame – or was at least in their top five issues denying their transformation. Data security concerns, cited by 60% of those polled, were also key, alongside technology silos (59%), budget issues (54%) and competing priorities within the business (53%).

When it came to cloud strategies, organisations appeared better prepared. Three quarters of companies polled said they have a ‘cloud-first’ policy. Yet of that number, just over half defined that as ‘cloud only’, with the remainder opting for ‘cloud priority’. The primary hurdle for cloud implementation, as defined by almost three quarters (72%) of those polled, is selecting the right workloads for each situation.

The overall consensus, as regular readers of this publication will recognise, is that there are no quick and easy fixes at the enterprise level. Appropriate steps must be taken and long-term planning is needed. It is of little surprise, therefore, that various other analyst reports have taken this view. Back in September, Gartner warned that employees may struggle with skills for future roles, with two in three business leaders polled admitting their firm needed to become ‘significantly digitised’ by 2020 or risk obsolescence.

“We know from first-hand experience with clients that IT transformation is challenging, and this survey bears out their most critical pain points,” said Shawn O’Grady, senior vice president and general manager at Insight’s cloud and data centre transformation team. “From the difficulty of deciding where to begin, to the gap between strategy and execution, transformation requires a multi-step road map, deep culture change, and continual evaluation and adjustments spanning technology, processes and people.”

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