by Bonnie Gardiner

Aussie CIOs feel stifled by legacy constraints: report

May 17, 2016
Digital TransformationInnovationIT Management

Australian IT leaders are feeling stifled by legacy systems, security policy and budget constraints when trying to innovate or support digital transformation, according to a new global study.

In Brocade’s new report, Unlocking the Power of Digital Transformation: Freeing IT from Legacy Constraints, CIOs were found to be missing opportunities to unlock innovation or support digital transformation.

Results from Australian respondents were fairly consistent with the global averages around challenges of digital transformation to IT departments, however some figures suggest Australian CIOs may face higher roadblocks to success.

Despite 90 per cent of Australian respondents claiming their organisations were implementing digital transformation, 93 per cent say the IT department is limited in how it can support this. This figure is comparatively high, considering the global average of 79 per cent. Further, 94 per cent of Australian respondents also claimed the CIO and IT teams were limited in how much they can innovate, compared to 84 per cent globally.

The study also revealed that many opportunities to innovate and transform were often being missed as a result of having to spend so much time maintaining data security/privacy and legacy systems.

Currently, key issues for Australian CIOs that are stifling innovation include a lack of budget (46 per cent), security concerns (40 per cent), the inflexibility of current systems (26 per cent), and the time drain of maintaining legacy systems (14 per cent), the report revealed.

More than a third (34 per cent) of Australian respondents said that the limits of legacy technology are preventing their organisation’s IT department from delivering even on immediate business demands, let alone enabling innovation for the future.

Meanwhile, 79 per cent of IT teams in Australia felt that if they had more opportunity to be flexible in their approach to technology, benefits would include the elimination of shadow IT (35 per cent), increased competitiveness (34 per cent), more time to focus on innovation (24 per cent), an increase in revenue (12 per cent) and decrease in costs over the next 12 months (10 per cent).

Australian IT professionals were found to regularly need to make trade-offs that impact their ability to embrace new technologies and approaches, with 94 per cent of Australian IT leaders having to defer or decline requests that would have benefited the business in the last year (compared to 88 per cent globally).

This also led to 94 per cent claiming that employees in their business think IT always says ‘no’ by default compared to 87 per cent globally, when 99 per cent of Australian respondents said they would expect to see benefits from saying yes.

More than half (53 per cent) in Australia claimed saying ‘no’ too often resulted in missing short-term business benefits, while three quarters (74 per cent) said it resulted in missed long-term benefits.

“For the last two decades, legacy IT infrastructure held back businesses from innovating on their terms. The IT department has found itself having to say ‘no’ to new business opportunities too often. It wasn’t supposed to be that way,” said Gary Denman, managing director of ANZ, Brocade.

Research house Vanson Bourne conducted the research in April 2016, surveying 630 decision makers from the US, UK, France, Germany, Singapore and Australia.

“We know from experience, and our report confirms, how critical IT is to enabling innovation, but too many businesses are restricted in their ability to adopt digital transformation and drive this change. It’s clear that if IT departments could spend less time ‘keeping the lights on’, then they could devote more time to creating value, reducing costs and increasing revenues. Organisations need to be more fluid with their uptake and deployment of technology.”

“As companies move to digitise their businesses, they need an underlying network infrastructure that allows them to innovate quickly. We believe the network must become a platform for innovation to develop, deliver and secure applications. This is best achieved through implementing network architectures that are software-centric, open and agile, such as the New IP.”