For the past three years, Logicalis, an international IT solutions and managed services provider, has conducted a global survey of CIO pressures and priorities. The trends uncovered by these surveys have shined a spotlight on the way IT departments are transforming from backroom cost centers to services-led partners to their organizations’ internal line-of-business (LOB) customers, according to a press release from Logicalis.
One of the most important trends uncovered in past Logicalis CIO surveys has been the growing threat from shadow IT and the creative ways technology’s top talent have found to overcome it, the press release notes.
The 2013 Logicalis survey, for example, revealed that 60% of CIO respondents believed LOB managers would gain more power over IT decision-making in the next three to five years.
A year later, the 2014 survey – which polled top IT pros in 24 countries – proved this to be true: One in four CIOs said they had lost control of their organization’s information technology spending and acknowledge that the balance of power in that IT spending had already shifted decisively toward line-of-business executives.
Last year, the 2015 survey found the trend accelerating. Shadow IT, the survey showed, was a reality for 90% of CIOs, with almost one-third (31%) of CIOs globally saying they had been routinely side-lined when it came to making IT purchasing decisions.
The remedy, the survey indicated, was to transform IT departments from technology-focused to services- led organizations. To do that, IT needs to become a broker of technology services – and the first step toward this service-defined enterprise model, experts agree, is to embrace a software-defined data center in which hardware configuration is maintained through intelligent software systems, freeing IT to focus on working more closely with LOB customers to deliver technology services as quickly and easily as those corporate technology users can purchase the services they need elsewhere.
Tellingly, the 2015 survey found that CIOs were already working to free themselves from day-to-day, technology-focused operational tasks, with 38% spending at least half of their time on more strategic activities that would lead them toward the goal of becoming a more digitally enabled enterprise.
“Corporations have to become more digitally enabled if they want to remain relevant in their respective markets, and IT can be the catalyst that helps corporations transform to digitally enabled enterprises,” says Vince DeLuca, CEO, Logicalis US. “The entire reason ‘shadow IT’ became a problem was because users had become accustomed to purchasing the services they needed to do their jobs in the same ways they had become accustomed to purchasing similar services in their consumer lives. We live in a right-now, on-demand world, and if IT can’t deliver the services its users need when and how they need to access them, those users will bypass IT and find another way. For CIOs to remain relevant and to maintain control over their IT departments, they must be seen as a business partner, not a gatekeeper. IT can’t be just a cost center within the organization anymore.”