We all know change is difficult. Just recently, we saw how small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) were more frequently turning to workforce mobilization systems than their larger counterparts were, showing that change is especially tough for larger, less agile firms. Juniper Research (News - Alert), however, underscored this point recently; by noting a substantial number of information technology decision makers (ITDMs) and business decision makers (BDMs) were simply not ready for digital disruption at the current time.
For both ITDMs and BDMs, disruption is, in the majority, expected, and soon. ITDMs look for disruptive technology to hit in the next two years in 55 percent of cases, and BDMs aren't far behind at 51 percent. However, nearly half of ITDMs at 45 percent believe that connected IT workforces won't be ready for that change, as at least a quarter of said workforces won't have the needed skills to succeed in just five years.
Worse, both BDMs and ITDMs believe in large quantity—84 percent of both—that the C-suite isn't as technology-savvy as it could be to succeed to its fullest. Both groups believed—50 percent of BDMs and 46 percent of ITDMs—that it would take their company at least a year to develop and support new products if a competitor were to step into the market. Legacy infrastructure is also proving a hindrance for a simple majority of respondents, as over half of all respondents suggested that the current IT infrastructure would represent a roadblock of some kind in accelerating new products and services.
There are bright spots in this study:
- Automation is proving a welcome development for large portions of respondents, including 70 percent of ITDMs and 72 percent of BDMs “excited by the opportunities network and IT automation create for their company.
- ITDMs using either software-defined networking (SDN) or network functions virtualization (NFV) note in 93 percent of cases it's already made for an advantage over current competitors.
It would be easy here to dismiss the words of ITDMs and BDMs as more departmental grousing, and/or more divisions looking to build fiefdoms on company dollars, increasingly scarce in the face of soft consumer confidence. Even Dilbert will routinely mock the technological savvy—or pronounced lack thereof—of the C-suite. Yet even the most skeptical must feel a stirring of unease at the back of their mind, noting the landscape so far and how different it looks from even that of just five years ago. Indeed, it is almost hard to remember that 10 years ago the iPhone (News - Alert) didn't exist. The pace of disruption seems to be growing, and those who aren't ready for it will end up on the bad side of it.
So while the results of this Juniper study may feel like saber rattling and empire building on a grandiose scale, there is entirely too much possibility for anyone's comfort that those expressing these opinions might be right. That's a chance no one can really afford to take.
Edited by Peter Bernstein