28 Jun 2021
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IT leaders prioritising agile over hybrid working and cloud

By Shannon Williams

IT leaders are prioritising agile and product development over hybrid working and cloud, according to new research.

Research released by The Harvard Business Review and technology cost management company Apptio explores the key investment priorities of business leaders across agile, hybrid working, and cloud, and found 82% of business leaders have increased their investments in digital initiatives as a result of the pandemic, with 62% of that group adding money to their technology budgets to fund them.

The report found that Agile and other processes/technologies that improve product delivery are the top tech investment priority for business leaders over the next year, followed by hybrid working and cloud migrations.

The report found:

  • Customer experience is the main driver of tech investment decisions, ahead of other strategic priorities such as automation and improving productivity
  • Leaders don't have the right data to make informed decisions; while 92% said that insights on how tech contributes to business value are key, only 62% had confidence in their data
  • More than half of organisations data on spending is out of date, with 55% unable to make timely decisions on IT spending
  • Top investment goals include opportunities to automate business or manufacturing processes, tied at 51% with reducing overall business operations costs/improving productivity; the development or enhancement of new digital business models (50%), and opportunities to expand their customer base or enter new markets (49%)

"Business leaders are clearly seeking greater agility and flexibility from their technology investments," the report says.

"However, the survey findings suggest that a lack of information about the business value of technology investments, and a shortage of timely data in general, presents a challenge to executing their plans.

"Without visibility into their current spending on technology and the return on these investments, business leaders are hard pressed to determine which are delivering the greatest value and where money might be put to better use," it explains.

"This chimes with a recent report released by PwC on the "cloud value gap," a survey of more than 500 business and tech leaders conducted last month. This concludes that companies are waking up from last year's cloud-computing splurge and realising that while that spending was justified, they're having trouble making progress on their goals."

According to the report, the top technology spending priorities over the next 12 to 18 months include:

  • Investing in technologies to accelerate the delivery of new products (62%)
  • Investing in technology to support hybrid working
  • Migrating technology infrastructure to the cloud (45%)
  • Consolidating or decommissioning legacy systems and applications (35%)
  • Re-evaluating and/or renegotiating IT supplier agreements to improve costs and flexibility (25%)
  • Providing tools for monitoring workforce and/or customer health and safety (22%)
  • Artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning (45%) 
  • Budgets are increasing, with 82% having increased their investments in digital initiatives as a result of the pandemic and 62% of that group have added money to their technology budgets to fund them, rather the optimising to reinvest
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