EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Organizations today are increasingly tying IT spending decisions to strategic business goals rather than to traditional considerations such as scheduled technology refreshes, according to a new IDG Research Services survey of IT leaders conducted on behalf of Datalink (Nasdaq: DTLK). The survey found that business-related factors such as customer/client experience improvements, cost management, operational efficiency gains and risk mitigation now rank in the top five priorities in deciding where to invest IT dollars, joining IT security enhancement as the leading drivers of technology investments.
These findings indicate a major shift in IT spending habits. Survey respondents reported that these top five investment drivers as well as revenue growth have become up to 75% more important in shaping IT expenditures in the last two years. In the same period, technology-specific influencers have become 25% less important in IT budgeting. Maintaining and/or gaining maximum value from legacy technology, for example, ranked lowest on a list of factors considered when evaluating IT spending, with just 17% of respondents indicating a focus on this issue today.
In other key findings illustrating the growing pressure to align IT investment strategy to business needs:
- 70% of IT decision makers believe that the ability to link IT investments to key business outcomes is critical in guiding IT spending.
- 68% indicate that IT operational goals take a back seat to key business goals in making IT investment decisions.
- 56% are planning to streamline their operational processes to more effectively drive business outcomes through IT investments.
- One-third of respondents are influenced by upper management involvement in IT activities, including increased scrutiny of IT spending at the C-suite level and executive insistence on ROI.
“IT organizations are increasingly focused on helping their companies derive more business value from IT. As a result, over the past year, we have been seeing more clients move away from three- to five-year technology refresh cycles and instead base their IT purchases on how they can best use technology to advance the organization’s business goals. This survey shows that the same thing is happening for the market at large,” said Datalink President and CEO Paul Lidsky. “This sea change in IT spending patterns is also increasing the need for consulting services to help companies synchronize their IT strategy and operations with the needs of the business overall.”
Survey responses also revealed interesting trends in IT security concerns, the perceived value of various technologies for achieving business objectives, and the focus of current and planned technology projects. Among the highlights:
- A heightened risk of security breaches is by far the #1 factor impacting IT investment strategy, outstripping the #2 and #3 factors (stricter compliance/regulatory mandates and heightened user expectations) by more than 20 points each. Security is also the #1 technology initiative currently under way followed closely by disaster recovery/business continuity projects, both reflecting the business emphasis on risk mitigation.
- Process automation is viewed as the single most technology initiative for achieving business impact in multiple areas. As a result, process automation is now the #2 initiative in the build stage (21%), just behind agile development platforms (22%). An additional 57% of respondents are either planning (14%) or actively deploying (43%) process automation projects.
- Migration to an IT-as-a-Service model is the #1 initiative in the planning stage (21%), reflecting broad market acceptance of the need for IT teams to move into a service broker role. An additional 39% of respondents are either building (17%) or running (22%) these projects.
- Converged data center infrastructure remains a core IT focus, with seven out of 10 respondents currently planning (13%), building (20%) or implementing (38%) this newer architecture. This is consistent with the trend of tying IT to business outcomes, since converged infrastructure is a building block for efforts such as cloud projects designed to generate specific business benefits.
The complete survey is posted at www.datalink.com/idg-survey.
Datalink is a complete IT services provider that helps companies transform their technology, operations, and service delivery to meet business challenges. Combining extensive experience, a full lifecycle of services and a comprehensive approach to producing IT innovations that empower positive business outcomes, Datalink delivers success across cloud IT transformation, next generation technology, and security. For more information, call 800.448.6314 or visit www.datalink.com.