Companies are moving forwards in their bid to modernise, but better digital habits and stronger IT infrastructures are needed to get the most value from transformation, experts say.

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The advisory messages stem from fresh research from multicloud computing firm, Nutanix, whose IDC CXO survey polled the views of IT leaders from across EMEA.

Among key findings, the vast majority of leaders across the region (84%) said they felt under pressure to deliver on digital transformation strategies, while 90% of organisations in EMEA said they acknowledge that having a digital-first approach is a now a must-have.

Sammy Zoghlami, SVP EMEA at Nutanix, said:

“With the pandemic accelerating the rate at which companies have invested in and deployed digital solutions, IDC predicts that in 2022 more than half of the global economy will be based on or influenced by digital solutions.”

“Digital-first not only requires a system rethink, but it also requires a corporate mindset where all C-suite executives see their digital technologies as the catalyst for business growth,” Zoghlami added.

“The survey clearly states that organisations must consider potential challenges and costs when running multiple cloud instances, highlighting the ongoing need for better multi-cloud management and streamlined deployment to avoid cloud sprawl,” Zoghlami continued.

The study shows that translating digital investments into new revenue streams is a top priority for EMEA organisations, as is data and innovation. Yet respondents believe the onus can no longer rest solely on the shoulders of the IT department and needs to be embraced by the C-suite as globally we come to terms with what a digital culture, digital infrastructure and digital-first mean to an organisation.

Well over half (64%) of the surveyed EMEA organisations said they have a digital strategy in place. Still, only 3% said they have an enterprise-wide digital strategy that has led to new revenue streams. There is, however, a disconnect between business, of which 32% stated they are in a proof-of-concept pilot stage for their digital projects and IT, of whom only 5% said their companies are developing digital strategies to support new revenue streams.

Respondents were clear-sighted, however, on how the impact of digital strategy hinges on the need to bid farewell to hierarchical structures and move to more fluid and orchestrated approaches between IT and leadership teams. Out of the respondents questioned, at least 47% said that the sign-off belongs to a CXO different from a tech lead for their digital transformation initiatives.

When asked what measures digital transformation leaders are considering to develop the organisation’s culture effectively, the following three were ranked the highest: promoting change in management awareness, redefining the missions and evaluations of existing businesses and new businesses, and promoting behavioural change in individuals by renewing the company’s purpose and action guidelines.

According to the survey, three key pillars stood out in how C-suites must cooperate to create the digital culture, using the cloud as the enabler for all three digital culture streams.

These were:

  • value economics
  • data-driven innovation
  • the future workplace

The numbers to support this show that 50% of EMEA organisations thought that additional investments in managed infrastructure will help deliver better digital value, and 30% said they are co-creating new products with customers and partners. In terms of the workplace, 35% of organisations thought that ensuring equal access to information and digital tools to all staff regardless of location will challenge the future workplace.

Managing cloud sprawl remains a crucial challenge for businesses starting their digital journey. As a result, finance departments are stepping up to put measures in place to curb expenditure and manage cloud usage. In support of this, 77% have redesigned purchasing processes to enable pay-as-you-use and consumption models, 58% have rationalised business and developer expenditure in external cloud resources, and over 55% have actively reduced costs on legacy on-premises systems.

Andrea Siviero, Associate Research Director, IDC, said:

“Customers no longer just want infrastructure solutions that help them reduce costs today. They want solutions that offer them the flexibility to traverse multiple hybrid cloud environments while cutting operating costs in the long term.

“As much as embracing digital-first systems requires a culture shift, it still requires a technology makeover so that a business can innovate, partner and explore new revenue streams,” Siviero added.

“Looking ahead, those that invest in people, innovate on data and automate processes, will have built the business resilience needed by the modern enterprise,” Siviero concluded.

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