IT departments and service providers are being asked to take on more tasks, but are getting more control, as well as higher investment – all as a result of the current crisis.
A study by service provider and integrator Ensono of 153 IT decision makers across the UK and US found that 43% of IT leaders feel more respected by their business counterparts since the start of the pandemic.
The research indicates that:
• 1 in 3 have been given more scope to define IT spend
• 1 in 3 organisations are looking to increase IT budgets
• 30% have more control over business decisions
• 56% stated that there is now a greater urgency for digital transformation
Barney Taylor, Ensono’s Europe MD, tells Comms Dealer sister publication IT Europa: “We are all feeling our way in this crisis. We have been looking at how to be the best IT partner for clients – with a different strategy for each sector – retail and hospitality were affected differently from public sector, for example.
"Once we had our internal workforce communicated with, the last few months have been spent optimising the client environment and finding that digital transformation which was not top of the agenda before has become much more important.”
The issues are all around 'How can we be flexible – and then see the conversation move from optimise to transform', he explains.
Technology must be at the heart of the business, which means CIOs are at the coal face and they are being elevated in their roles, Taylor says.
While C-level discussions have been easier to come by, clients were facing challenges of different types – mobilising workforces, looking at budgets, and assessing what they need for support – is it financial or is it technology?
“They have a lot of issues and they need a partner who can do a lot of things without them needing to worry about it. There was no great plan – just be whatever the customer needed us to be,” added Taylor.
But it is all about the relationship: “We have seen satisfaction increase and renewal rates are highest for years,” he says.
“Communications with clients and in the survey shows that our relationships have actually improved – you see that in the satisfaction scores.”
And on top of this, IT is being asked to do more, the study finds, with new responsibilities for IT generally, for IT departments and for service providers.
Looking behind the survey – 22% of IT leaders and decision makers have increased their scope beyond IT.
Many IT leaders and providers have found that their relationship has moved into business development, data analytics and sales. Surveys done last year had started to show revenue generation becoming part of IT in any case, noted Taylor.
Most interesting is that improvement in relations between providers and technology leaders – and with this increased respect, businesses have also grown hungrier for innovation, and consequently 1 in 3 (32%) IT decision makers in the study are seeing IT budgets increase.
33% have been given more scope to define IT spend since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, versus just 5% who feel they have been given less scope to define IT spend.
Along with an uptick in funding, more organisations are looking to digitally transform due to pressures from the crisis.
56% of IT decision makers in the survey saw a greater urgency for digital transformation over the next few years.
When asked whether the coronavirus has changed their business’ view of IT, 38% of respondents confirmed the pandemic has helped improve understanding of IT.
30% of IT decision makers now have more control over business decisions.