4 ways IT can better collaborate with the business on digital transformation

Differing priorities between business and IT are hindering digital transformation efforts, according to a report from The Economist.

Digital transformation: A high-level overview for professionals TechRepublic Senior Writer Teena Maddox summarizes why digital transformation is key for companies to stay relevant.

Digital transformation projects are underway at the majority of companies, as technology reshapes every industry and businesses must adapt to remain competitive. However, these digital efforts are often hindered by a lack of collaboration between IT and the business, according to a Wednesday report from The Economist Intelligence Unit and BMC Software.

Two-thirds of organizations often bypass IT when purchasing new technologies for digital transformation, according to the report, which surveyed more than 300 senior executives worldwide. Yet 43% of organizations still blame IT if something goes wrong with digital transformation initiatives.

SEE: Digital transformation: A guide for CXOs (Tech Pro Research)

Collaboration between IT and the business is critical for building confidence and overcoming challenges, the report found. In companies where IT regularly works with non-IT teams, 89% of executives said they felt "confident" or "very confident" in their ability to succeed through digital transformation barriers, compared to just 55% of executives from companies where IT and non-IT do not collaborate.

Misaligned objectives are a major reason for the collaboration issues, the report found. Non-IT teams prioritize revenue growth and reducing costs, while IT teams prioritize integration within existing systems and overall security. Time pressures are also a factor, as 37% of executives said the long procurement process is what keeps them from consulting IT teams before purchasing new technologies.

The length of time it takes to see results from digital transformation efforts can also slow collaboration, according to the report. Of organizations that have only had digital initiatives in place for one or two years, only 42% said they strongly agree that their company is realizing the benefits of digital transformation. For companies that have had their initiatives in place for three or more years, that number rises to 63%, the report found.

"Digital transformation is not a one-off, unique journey that some organisations are experimenting with," Kevin Plumberg, editor of the report, said in a press release. "It has become the norm, and companies where IT teams are working closely with the business rather than in silos are better positioned to manage the challenges that inevitably arise."

Here are four ways that IT can better collaborate with the business on digital transformation projects, according to the report:

1. Increase familiarity with emerging technologies (46%)

2. Automate the procurement and acquisition process (29%)

3. Collaborate more with external-facing teams (29%)

4. Source more innovative suppliers (29%)

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