Lack of collaboration between IT and business hinders digital transformation says study

A new digital transformation study from The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) shows that digital transformation efforts are being hindered by lack of collaboration between IT and business.

The study reports that:

  • two-thirds of organisations bypass IT when buying new technologies for digital transformation
  • 43% of firms still hold IT accountable if something goes wrong with digital transformation initiatives
  • respondents from companies where IT regularly collaborates with non-IT teams are significantly more confident about overcoming digital transformation challenges.

According to the report, From gatekeeper to enabler: the role of IT when digital transformation is the norm, organisations and their IT teams are not in sync when pursuing their digital transformation strategies and two-thirds of private and public-sector organisations in the survey (66%) say they buy new systems and solutions without involving IT teams – a situation that flies in the face of IT’s traditional role as a gatekeeper of new technologies.

The findings were based on a survey of senior executives and administrators in Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and North America. Reasons for the shortfall in collaboration with IT departments on digital transformation initiatives include:

  • misalignment in objectives: non-IT teams prioritise revenue growth and reduced costs, in contrast to IT teams prioritising integration with existing systems and overall security
  • time pressures: 37% of respondents cited excessive length of the procurement process for the failure to consult IT teams on the purchase of new technologies.

Despite many companies saying they bypass IT when purchasing new technology, 43% of respondents said their IT teams were still accountable if something went wrong with a digital transformation initiative.

Organisations in which IT and non-IT teams collaborated regularly were significantly more confident about overcoming digital transformation challenges, with 89% of collaborators saying they were confident about overcoming obstacles compared with 55% of non-collaborators.

For organisations who have had their initiatives in place for 1-2 years, only 42% strongly agreed their organisation was realising the benefits of digital transformation. This was much lower than the 63% of respondents who had their initiatives in place for 3+ years.

Editor of the report, Kevin Plumberg, said: “Digital transformation is not a one-off, unique journey that some organisations are experimenting with. It has become the norm, and companies where IT teams are working closely with the business, rather than in silos, are better positioned to manage the challenges that inevitably arise.”