TEMPE, Ariz., Aug. 06, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The current role of IT and the one business leaders need them to play is creating both friction and opportunity within the discipline. According to the 2018 Insight Intelligent Technology™ Index, 87 percent of IT decision-makers agree the department struggles to adapt to an expanding role that includes both adopting innovation initiatives and keeping core systems running effectively.

As companies turn to IT to help them navigate systemic cultural and technological changes, business leaders have thrust IT into a state of change with increasing roles and responsibilities. But the infrastructure, budget and clear road map forward to manage complex IT challenges and transform the business have yet to emerge, according to the vast majority of the 404 IT professionals queried in the study.

“Organizations have become acutely aware of the critical role technology now plays in overall business strategy, from enabling a more productive and connected workforce to increasing market share and customer loyalty. But this year’s Insight Intelligent Technology Index signifies how competing demands on IT are inhibiting their ability to plan and innovate,” said Steve Dodenhoff, president, Insight North America.

The issues underscoring why IT decision-makers feel they may not be set up for success also provide a good starting point for where business leaders and IT leaders can begin to collaborate, including:

-- Competing demands and not enough resources to effectively support the organization (51 percent) -- Request of IT to support innovation, despite existing processes, practices and business operations not evolving to allow them to accomplish this (35 percent) -- Shadow projects handed off to IT that divert already scheduled resources to fix systems built outside of architecture and processes (26 percent) -- Out-of-process or hastily executed decisions on cloud strategy, architecture and platform selection (24 percent) -- Lacking clearly defined roles and responsibilities within the organization (24 percent)

IT is still perceived as a cost center when businesses want and need more.

IT budgets have long been a pain point for businesses — an issue that continues to intensify — with 52 percent saying monitoring budgets and costs is a top technology concern. Additionally, though four in 10 respondents describe IT as being an even mix of cost center and innovation center, the overall view is that IT skews toward being a cost center:

Cost center 38 percent ------------------------------------------- ---------- Even mix between cost center and innovation 40 percent ------------------------------------------- ---------- An innovation center 20 percent ------------------------------------------- ----------

“While we have been talking about the growing need for IT to both manage daily operations and be a strategic partner for transformation, many companies still have a long way to go when it comes to leveling the divide and creating a competitive advantage through innovation,” said David Mayer, vice president and general manager, Connected Workforce, Insight. “The Index results suggest more businesses are putting an emphasis on managed services to get there. If this happens, the look and feel of IT departments will change dramatically, and businesses will start to see even greater IT-driven business outcomes.”

Managed services and the cloud help alleviate tension and transform the business.

More than three-fourths of companies dedicated a portion of their IT budget to managed services in 2017. Of those budgeting 20 percent or less to managed services in 2017, 52 percent said they are likely to increase their investment over the next 12 to 24 months.

With one-third of IT professionals citing maintenance and support as the biggest technology pain point, organizations are investing more in managed services to alleviate day-to-day operational burdens. The top reasons for investing are for additional expertise (45 percent), to free internal resources to focus on innovation (37 percent), to better support employees (36 percent), and for greater flexibility and modernization of devices (35 percent).

IT leaders can make the case for an investment in managed services akin to the manner in which the transition to the cloud has influenced transformation and organizational change. Many companies started their journey to the cloud years ago and have seen the payoff. In 2017, 82 percent of companies invested in cloud services, and respondents reported the following benefits:

-- A more flexible and collaborative IT environment (64 percent) -- Better remote access (61 percent)

“Transitioning to the cloud creates organizational agility and improves the employee and customer experience, but it does not absolve IT leaders of all operational responsibilities once they migrate,” said Shawn O’Grady, senior vice president and general manager, Cloud + Data Center Transformation, Insight. “Because there is still a lot of confusion around operational ownership, many businesses are often not equipped with the right employee mix, tools and processes to manage the new environment and maximize business outcomes.”

You can download a copy of the full whitepaper at insight.com.

Methodology

The findings in this year’s index come from an online survey of a random sample of 404 IT professionals from companies with one to more than 1,000 employees. To qualify for the survey, respondents had to be responsible for at least two of the following areas: management and supervision of IT systems, determining IT needs for their company, and approving or selecting IT consultants. Fieldwork was conducted by Market Insights Group between May 8, 2018, and May 15, 2018. For this research, small companies are defined as having fewer than 100 employees, medium companies as having 100 to 999 employees, and large companies as having 1,000 or more employees.

For more information on Insight, visit www.insight.com or call 1.800.INSIGHT.

About Insight

Today, every business is a technology business. Insight Enterprises Inc. empowers organizations of all sizes with Insight Intelligent Technology Solutions™ and services to maximize the business value of IT. As a Fortune 500-ranked global provider of digital innovation, cloud and data center transformation, connected workforce, and supply chain optimization solutions and services, we help clients successfully manage their IT today while transforming for the future. From IT strategy and design to implementation and management, our 6,600+ employees help clients innovate and optimize their operations to run business smarter. Discover more at insight.com. NSIT-M

Contacts: Scott Walters Insight Enterprises Tel. (480) 889-9798 Email: scott.walters@insight.com Ariel Kouvaras Sloane & Company Tel. (212) 446-1884 Email: akouvaras@sloanepr.com