A new report finds that IT leaders are overinflating their innovation capabilities, and while many executives ranked themselves on the “leading edge,” their actual capabilities reflect a different picture.
For example, nearly half (49%) of respondents said they would be unable to successfully mitigate a data breach or ransomware attack, according to the IT Innovation Index, from cloud provider Syntax.
When it comes to securing the hybrid workplace, 43% of respondents said they are only somewhat confident their company can keep them safe from cyberattacks.
“As cyberattacks climb, IT leaders who overestimate their capabilities leave themselves open to attack,” the report stated. “And even those who take threats seriously often only prepare for the worst scenarios while overlooking opportunities to defend against less sophisticated breaches and hacks.”
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Rating their innovation efforts
The majority of enterprises reported that less than half of their processes are currently automated, and that 48% are not using low-code and no-code tools.
“This represents a huge opportunity loss, as low-code tools can put powerful analytics capabilities in non-technical hands, significantly increasing opportunities for those outside of IT to innovate,” the report stated.
Though many enterprises consider themselves on the leading edge of innovation, balance sheets tell a different story, the Syntax report said. “AI and analytics projects—the kind that genuinely prepares enterprises for the future—caused companies the most significant financial losses over the last year. Additionally, no single technology was a sure bet for ROI.”
There is also a disconnect between IT and finance. While 61% of IT respondents reported positive ROI for cloud investments, only half of finance respondents reported neutral ROI on cloud infrastructure investments.
The report also shines a spotlight on talent woes. Forty-five percent of respondents said they don’t have the talent to migrate to a public cloud. Further, only 36% of companies think they have the staff to implement AI automation.
Additionally, automation investments are seeing the lowest returns with only 42% of enterprises reporting positive ROI–potentially another symptom of talent shortages.
Plans for 2022
Enterprise technology investments will run the gamut over the next year. Not surprisingly, cloud migration spending and improving cybersecurity tied for first in the areas enterprises said they will invest in “significantly” in 2022.
Ninety-four percent of leaders said cloud investment was up due to the pandemic, and only 1% said they had no budget for cloud over the next year.
However, building remote capabilities will draw the most investment in 2022 with only 4% of respondents saying their companies won’t invest anything in this area.
Digital transformation shows no sign of slowing. Next year, 44% of companies said they will heavily invest in building business intelligence capabilities. “Because these types of capabilities demand high levels of data sophistication and cloud computing, it is becoming increasingly clear that some enterprises are in new stages of the digital transformation process, ” the report said.
One call to action is that enterprises “need to get serious about automation” if they want to be leading edge. Right now, 48% of businesses surveyed said they have automated more than half of their processes. But that number will only grow to 58% over the next five years, based on planned spending.
Talent remains the holdup, according to the report. For 55% of businesses, a lack of IT staff knowledge is holding back further innovation in automation.
Other challenges incorporating automation into business processes include lack of adequate technology, insufficient buy-in from leadership, employee pushback and lack of budget.
Another call to action is that enterprises reassess their strategy. Respondents saw some of the lowest ROI in managed service provider relationships in the last 12 months, the report said. Additionally, 41% of those who invested in IT managed services saw neutral or negative ROI.
“Based on these numbers, it’s critical to examine existing outsourced IT relationships and determine whether the relationship is still valuable.”
The Syntax report also suggests adopting advanced analytics and robotic process automation, with a nod to the fact that IT talent remains hard to find. “If you can recruit the talent (only 36% of companies think they have the staff to implement AI automation) and incorporate robust analytics, you will have an edge on the competition.”
Finally, the report recommends making sure finance and IT are aligned. “We engaged both finance and IT professionals in our survey, and the variations in their responses are telling,” the report stated. “In many cases, finance respondents report lower ROI on certain projects—including AI efforts and cloud spending—than their IT counterparts.”