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The rise of digital business transformation initiative has the potential to be a major boon for IT services providers. Organizations of all sizes are starting to recognize they need to not only employ IT to become more efficient, they also need IT to provide a more compelling customer experience. The challenge they often face is that they lack the IT expertise required to build and deploy those solutions.

A new survey of 1,010 business and IT leaders conducted by Dimensional Research on behalf of Mendix, a provider of a low-code application development platform, finds 71 percent of business and 77 percent of IT leaders say they have a huge pipeline of requests for new IT solutions that are not being built. In fact, 61 percent of business leaders say less than half their IT ideas are ever implemented.

The survey also finds the lack of IT execution has a negative impact on the business in the form of frustration among forward thinking employees (62 percent), inability to meet key strategic targets (50 percent, missed cost reduction opportunities (49 percent), and loss of competitive advantage (48 percent).

The top two IT challenges identified by business leaders are getting stakeholders to agree on a solution (37 percent), followed closely by getting those IT solutions delivered faster (36 percent). The survey also finds 72 percent of survey respondents said it takes them anywhere from two months to a year (51 percent), to 12 to 24 months (21 percent) to implement a new IT solution.

Not surprisingly, the survey also suggests those same business leaders are somewhat conflicted about their IT departments. A full 94 percent of business leaders say IT involvement in strategic business initiatives adds value. Yet, 78 percent of respondents said shadow IT spending is increasing inside their organizations, with most business leaders viewing that development as a positive trend.

What this means for IT service providers

Obviously, there’s a significant amount of pent up demand for solutions that IT service providers could be delivering. In fact, the survey suggests there is no shortage of ideas among business leaders that clearly appreciate the value of IT. The challenge providers face is those ideas are not being as widely shared with them as most of them would like.

Many IT service providers may be spending too much time talking to the internal IT leaders rather than business executives. The survey identifies the top two concerns IT leaders have is their need to support legacy systems (59 percent), followed by make sure they have to enough budget to deploy solutions at sufficient scale (50 percent).

There’s an opportunity for IT service providers to provide a little group therapy to business and IT leaders that are often are not on the same page when it comes to identifying IT priorities. The challenge those IT service providers face is they need to know enough about the vertical industry sector an organization is operating in to lead that discussion.

Far too many IT service providers view themselves as technology specialists rather than strategic business consultants. In the absence of that business acumen, IT service providers will find themselves not just marginalized, but left out of the digital business transformation discussion altogether.

Photo: Stocksnapper / Shutterstock

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Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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