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Fostering a Culture of Innovation Must be a Top Priority for IT Leaders to Support Digital Transformation Efforts and Grow Organisational Resilience, Finds Snow Software Study

Snow Software, the global leader in technology intelligence, unveiled findings from its most recent survey which found that most organisations struggle to create a culture of innovation despite digital transformation being a top priority. The survey, which polled 200 IT practitioners from the United States and United Kingdom, found that 94% of UK and 89% of US IT practitioners agree that innovation is one of their key objectives – but creating a culture that supports this may be standing in their way.

One potential reason is that more than half of IT workers (70% of UK respondents and 53% in the US) believe that their departments spend too much time reacting to problems, reducing the opportunity to be innovative – and 71% of global IT leaders agree, according to the Snow Software 2022 IT Priorities Report. In fact, 72% of IT leaders[1] surveyed last year reported they were challenged to extract important insights from the vast troves of technology investment data available. The ability to maintain a comprehensive view and understanding of all technology assets – known as technology intelligence – is essential to creating an environment primed for innovation and growth.

The new study also highlights the latest similarities and discrepancies between IT practitioners and their IT leaders. IT teams gained greater respect and appreciation for their crucial role in maintaining business continuity throughout the pandemic, but IT practitioners (82% of UK and 76% of US) and leaders (89% globally[1]) want more help from other business units to move digital transformation efforts forward faster.

“The overnight shift to remote work and more digitalisation challenged IT teams in unparalleled ways,” said Alastair Pooley, Chief Information Officer at Snow. “The success of this transition instilled confidence and resilience in IT practitioners, but digital transformation requires the engagement of business unit leaders. IT teams need to examine how to foster a culture which supports innovation and creativity as enterprises shift out of ‘survival mode’ and aim for competitive advantage.”

Additional findings include:

  • Potential misalignment between US IT leaders and practitioners on IT priorities. Adopting new technologies to improve day-to-day operations was the highest ranked priority for US IT practitioners (37% of respondents) versus only 25% of US leadership agreed, instead ranking improving customer service and satisfaction as their highest priority (33% of respondents) [1]. This speaks to the potential divide between the IT manager-employee relationship: if priorities are unclear, it will be difficult for teams to know and understand their goals, and how their work contributes to the overall business. While CIOs have a seat at the executive table, it’s possible that’s clouding their perspective on what’s happening on the front lines, setting up an inherent battle between practitioner and leader.
  • IT teams have identified ‘reducing security risks’ as a top priority globally. Reducing security risks emerged as one of the top priorities among IT practitioners in both the US (30%) and UK (34%) for the coming year, with IT employees expecting their organisations to put the most monetary investment into security tools. In 2022, UK and US IT teams are focused on tactical priorities, such as mitigating security risks and continuing to deliver on digital transformation promises; however, security is the fifth priority for IT leaders globally[1] (23% of respondents).
  • IT practitioners and leaders globally feel confident about implementing future technologies. When it comes to adopting emerging technologies such as internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), containers and more, IT practitioners (91% in the US and 88% in the UK) and leaders (93% of global respondents[1]) feel very prepared in their own knowledge and skillsets to leverage these technologies. In addition, IT teams feel confident they’ll be able to staff appropriately to meet the demands of their department and for any specialised roles moving forward. However, most IT practitioners believe employees within the rest of their organisation need more training (87% in the US and 88% in the UK) – but feel confident their company can handle this need.
  • Lack of priority on retention may be contributing to the ‘Great Resignation’. The lowest ranked IT priorities in both the US and UK are related to employee experience. In the US, only 21% of IT practitioners ranked improving employee satisfaction and retaining employees as a high priority. The story is similar in the UK with only 16% of respondents ranking improving employee satisfaction as a top priority. With so many IT workers leaving their jobs or considering a job change during the ‘Great Resignation’, this lack of prioritisation of employee happiness may be contributing to the increase in employee turnover.