Why? It's a really big deal. As a result, I've exhaustively gone through what I felt were the motivations and the challenges for IT changing the way it does business.
But now, you don't have to listen to me and my endless exhortations. You can now see how others in the IT profession feel about the topic.
While the poll results might be surprising to you, the only "surprise" I found was perhaps the degree that the responses tended to correspond to my own personal views. But that's not really a surprise, since many of my views are nothing more than aggregations of conversations that I frequently have with this audience.
Take a moment, and see for yourself …
Of Polls and Polling
The most fundamental bias in any survey is self-selection: you end up gathering the perspectives of people who are willing to submit to a poll on a given topic.
This poll is no different: the 209 early respondents are likely (a) very interested in this particular topic, and (b) probably motivated to see what others had to say about the same topics.
Keep this self-selection principle in mind as you digest the results.
Where Are You With Virtualization?
Rather than take this as a measure of the broader IT market, I interpret this result as a strong interest in ITaaS topics amongst those who are substantially virtualized -- and probably looking to do much more.
That makes a certain sense: the core technology is in place and showing the results; what remains is to change the way the IT is consumed to be more optimized, more effective, create greater value, etc.
As I look at this result, I see three motivational clusters.
The first cluster (50%+ of respondents) is basically around doing a better job for the business.
The second cluster (40%+ of respondents) is around new kinds technologies showing up in the workplace -- mobile, web, consumer IT, etc.
And the third cluster (20-30%) is around new forms of work -- collaboration, analytics, personal productivity, etc.
If I was being critical, I'd point out that the second cluster is likely being driven by the first and third ones. IT people tend to define their worlds in terms of specific technologies, rather than the underlying motivations for their adoption :)
A bit surprising to me was that half the respondents pointed to "better IT services" (reliable, etc.) as a potential benefit. I guess that's even more evidence that current approaches aren't delivering the goods.
Also in the roughly-half category was achieving financial transparency. That's encouraging.
Rounding out the 30%+ category are benefits like "improved go-to-market for IT projects" and "creating competitive advantage". That last result was perhaps a bit shocking: unless you're clearly focused on creating a sustainable competitive advantage for your organization, little else matters -- at least, to my way of thinking.
Physician, Heal Thyself
About 40% pointed to the need for a substantial technology investment.
That last one puzzles me -- how can new technology deliver any meaningful benefit unless you're skilled and organized to take advantage of it? Maybe I should interpret this as "we think we might have bought the wrong stuff, and that's a problem" which would align better with my own personal perspectives :)
Poor communication and alignment between IT and business", "lack of tech-savvy business execs" and "tech savvy execs going around IT" form an interesting cluster if you think about it -- all coming in at about the 25%+ mark.
This one, in particular, tends to correlate strongly with the size of the IT organization, based on my personal experiences. To quote a famous line -- "what we have here is a failure to communicate", and that becomes much more of a challenge in larger settings.
Seeing The Road Ahead
Perhaps the most satisfying results came from the responses around "what needs to be done". All responses came in at 40%+, meaning that the respondents realize that there's no silver bullet here -- just a lot of sustained and heavy lifting across a number of challenges.
From redefining the relationship with the business to modernizing IT skills and roles, there's a lot of work to be done, based on the responses here.
A Word Of Thanks
My personal thanks to them for this project, and allowing all of us to share the results with you, even in my personal blog :)
I mentioned at the beginning that it was very likely that the participants in this poll self-selected because they were interested in the topic.
Now, I'm really interested in understanding the "who's interested" audience across different industries, demographics, geographies, etc. Where is this new IT thinking taking root now, and where is it taking longer?
In my conversations, I'm always fishing to see if this discussion is interesting to the IT leaders I meet with. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. That's to be expected.
But I'd like to think the numbers are increasing :)