CIOs Reveal Their Priorities for IT Transformation

IT Transformation is hardly a new concept for CIOs and IT leaders. For more than a decade, they have sought to evolve their IT organizations from a support function to a true strategic partner that drives business competitiveness.

Along the way, Dell EMC has been on the front lines of IT Transformation. We partner with IT and business leaders to close their IT Transformation gaps by developing project roadmaps that build infrastructure platforms, optimize application portfolios, and update the operating model, so IT is better positioned for deep collaboration with the business.

We have also heard countless unique perspectives during the hundreds of global IT Transformation Workshops we have hosted over the last 10 years, in which we work closely with CIOs and their teams to analyze 30 areas of transformation.

These workshops have produced rich data sources which lay the foundation for IDG’s illuminating analysis that answered many questions about the state of IT Transformation. What progress has been made by top performers? What are their top priorities? What are the technological and operational challenges? What does good look like?

Please note that this analysis is not a study of random survey participants, but organizations that have asked Dell EMC Consulting and VMware to help them create and execute transformation programs. The results offer a look at the current state of transformation and provide answers to those key questions.

What progress has been made by top performers?

IT Transformation is a tops-down initiative that requires full executive and line-of-business support. It’s one of the most important messages we tell our customers, and we’re seeing it resonate. Top performers (those who have achieved the highest current state in the top 20% of all workshop participants) identify top-down leadership as a defining characteristic, and are supported by a documented strategy and roadmap for their transformation.

Top performers have also made progress on implementing automation required for IT as a service. They have nearly 100% of their infrastructure virtualized, and can provision infrastructure in as little as one day.

What are the top priorities?

Year after year, building a self-service catalog and portal consistently ranks as the top priority. It is the most visible way that the business experiences the output of the automation and infrastructure efforts implemented by IT.

Beyond a catalog or portal, IT is accelerating its move to a cloud-based environment. Over the last three years, 84% of companies said they want to use hybrid cloud architectures to support multiple production apps across their environment — a 19% increase during that timeframe.  Yet, less than 10% have evaluated their application portfolio for hybrid cloud suitability.

DevOps and continuous deployment – a new topic recently added to the workshops – jumped to the top of the application priorities list.  67% want DevOps to be pervasive within their enterprise in the next 12-18 months. However, most respondents said it takes them more than 6 months to get a new release deployed. IT organizations feel the need to reduce deployment times, and are increasingly looking to DevOps in pursuit of those goals.

Network virtualization is another area that has increased in importance.  It is now where most CIOs perceive they have the biggest gap in their infrastructure.  They want to be at least 40% virtualized within the next 12-18 months.

Where are key technological and operational challenges?

Successful IT transformation is made up of three key ingredients – people, process, and technology. While technology has its complexities, we’ve observed that organizations frequently find changing the operating model to be the hardest part of IT transformation.  Transforming service delivery, changing how infrastructure is deployed and managed, and reworking the IT organization’s structure are not simple tasks, yet have the CIO’s highest aspirations for the target state.

We’ve seen dramatic interest in customers wanting to implement infrastructure as code (IaC) methodologies and processes to automatically manage and configure infrastructure.  So, it’s no surprise that automated change and configuration management is ranked as a top priority by nearly 90% of the workshop participants, while only 5% said that they had achieved it.

Additional priorities identified by 85% percent or more of IT leaders include the ability to: proactively address capacity and performance issues through alert and automated responses; establish an automated transparent metering system; develop an automated analytics engine to provide heuristics and trending information on all IT services.

Let’s step back and look at the larger picture. Transforming IT is a complex undertaking, but one critical to the business’ ability to remain relevant in a technologically disrupted world. In gaining clarity to the requirements, needs, and priorities of IT Transformation, CIOs and business leaders can better design a strategy that mutually leads both into a more competitive future.

Want to hear more?

Check out InFocus for some insightful blogs from our consultants who execute transformation workshops and help customers implement the recommendations.  If you are having trouble with getting and sustaining momentum for a transformation initiative, you’ll want to check out this 3-part blog series on multi-cloud strategy.  The first one is Moving to Multi-Cloud: How to Get Stakeholders Aligned.

About the Author: Todd Pavone