Almost half of tech executives say their organizations aren’t ready for AI or other advanced initiatives

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Almost half of tech executives say their organizations aren’t ready for AI or other advanced initiatives

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People have been talking about IT and business alignment since the 1990s. Yet, despite decades of consultant engagements, analyst pronouncements, internal reengineering projects, and Agile scrums, we don’t seem to know if all that work on alignment has made a difference.
Now, fresh data on the topic hints at some progress on IT and business alignment, tempered by concerns that outdated or inefficient processes may quash efforts to adopt next-generation initiatives, such as artificial intelligence (AI).
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More than eight out of 10 business leaders say IT has been doing a good job of keeping up with business needs, a recent survey finds. The survey, commissioned by Celonis, covered 1,217 senior business leaders — of which 300 respondents lead IT departments — and shows 81% believe IT “is able to support the business at the speed required, indicating the central role IT now plays in supporting transformation.”
That focus on transformation also goes into new areas and is paving a pathway for AI. Eighty-one percent of executives say well-preforming IT processes will help harness AI initiatives. Conversely, more than two-thirds (68%) express concern that suboptimal process shortcomings may “hold back further successful implementation of AI — as well as automation and other emerging technologies — in the next two years.”
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Top factors driving process optimization include interest in harnessing emerging technologies, such as AI (70%), cutting costs (69%), and competitive pressures (64%), the survey shows. Examples of key processes that are essential to moving forward with advanced technologies include the following:
On average, 55% of IT processes are running as they should, the survey shows. That proportion might sound impressive, but it also means that close to half of processes such as “IT service management or incident response are running in a sub-optimal way,” the report’s authors point out. “And of course, there’s a high chance the 55% of processes that are seen as fully optimized could still be improved.”
Therefore, many IT leaders and professionals are still struggling to optimize IT processes, which has far-reaching implications for their businesses, the survey shows. For starters, more than three-quarters of IT leaders (78%) say a lack of visibility is holding them back from achieving greater process optimization. Complexity is another challenge, cited by 56% of IT leaders.
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IT leaders “are best placed to understand the foundations enterprises must lay before AI can truly deliver on its promise,” the survey’s authors state. “As we’ve seen, 81% of IT leaders say interest in harnessing AI and other emerging technologies is a major factor driving the need to optimize processes in the next 12 months.”
The implications of sub-optimal processes on IT spell trouble for the business. Sixty-one percent of executives say underperforming IT costs time and reduces productivity, and 41% believe it leads to a lack of efficiency that costs money. Yet with well-designed IT processes, businesses will see revenue growth (cited by 51%), cost reduction (46%), and greater flexibility (41%), the survey shows.