Agile Divide Between IT and Business Is Narrowing


A global survey of 1,350 business and IT executives conducted by Jigsaw Research on behalf of NTT Ltd., a provider of IT services, suggests organizations are a lot more agile in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, but there’s still a significant gap in terms of prioritizing agility.

A full 89% of business and IT leaders agree COVID-19 has caused significant changes to their operating processes, with 87% also agreeing it has accelerated their digital transformation strategy. A third of respondents (33%) also noted they pivoted their technology focus to take advantage of a market opportunity or scale their operations.

However, well over a third of operational executives identified speed and agility as a core component of technology strategy, while only just over half of IT executives agreed (53%).

Overall, the survey found there is a consensus IT remains a key enabler of business efficiency. A total of 91.4% respondents agreed that enabling business efficiency is a key driver for their technology strategy, with 92% of IT respondents saying their overall technology strategy is aligned either fully or partially with the organization’s business strategy needs.

However, there’s a significant divide in terms of the importance of IT’s role in driving business efficiency. A technology strategy that drives business efficiency opportunities is seen as being most crucial by 70% of operations teams, yet only 48% of IT teams said the same.

Sanjay Lakhani, a principal consultant for NTT and head of the IT service management (ITSM) practice for the Americas region said that while the alignment between business operations and IT is not as close as it could be, a lot of improvement has been made. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the divide between IT and the rest of the business was generally wider, noted Lakhani.

Now that more organizations are realizing how dependent they are on software, there’s a lot more focus on application development with business units, he added. There’s also more pressure on IT operations teams, which are being asked to keep pace with the rate at which digital business transformation initiatives have accelerated, added Lakhani.

Unfortunately, the survey also highlighted an emerging technology gap. The survey found 92% of business and IT leaders agreed emerging technology is crucial for their technology strategy, but only two-fifths (41%) believed they have the technology to meet their organization’s immediate objectives. Those result suggest a significant transition is underway, both in terms of how software is constructed and the type of IT infrastructure required.

In the meantime, it remains to be seen to what degree the COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally altered the DNA of IT operations teams, but it’s apparent enterprise IT will never be the same. Most IT teams have embraced, to varying degrees, agile application development methodologies along with DevOps best practices. The challenge now is aligning the operational cadence IT teams follow with that of the rest of the business in the wake of the pandemic.

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