Are Your Obsolete IT Operations Tools Impeding Innovation—And Stifling Business Success?

To forge ahead with digital transformation—especially in the current belt-tightening climate—you must know the obstacles.

A recent Forrester report laid bare some harsh realities IT teams face across organizations: Legacy tools are paralyzing digital transformation, thwarting businesses’ abilities to meet the growing demand for always-on services. While old technologies hamstring the ability to scale services to meet the pandemic-era needs of businesses and consumers, there’s also questions as to whether C-suite leaders realize the true source of what’s holding back their progress.

Implementing new tools and processes can be extraordinarily difficult in normal times. Amid a global virus outbreak that’s touched off an unprecedented shift to telework and all-online functions, it’s even harder to make a business case for digital transformation, let alone put it into place. But with the delivery of IT-based services more critical than ever, adopting new tools that optimize operations can be a lifeline for organizations and the users they serve. The first step toward this new future is recognizing the challenges that aging IT systems pose for your organization, from top-level operations to the bottom line.

Today, large enterprises with global IT functions spend as much as 70% to 80% of their collective team efforts—and likely an untenable portion of budget—on operating the existing applications that run the business. That means those teams don’t get to spend much time developing new applications, exploring cutting-edge technology or doing the work necessary to achieve leapfrog advances.

We all want to deliver the technology people rely on today for everything from working from home to keeping in touch with family and friends. Doing so requires deploying advancements that are agile and work in tandem to improve operations, reliability, efficiencies and outcomes. Unfortunately, most organizations are struggling to realize necessary transformation—especially if leaders lack foundational understanding of the barriers to that realization.

The good news is that knowledge is power. Understanding the top obstacles in IT operations is half the battle—by knowing what to look for, you can start to arm your organization accordingly and forge a path to excellence that would otherwise be impossible.

Shining a Light on the Future: Recognizing Top Barriers in Your Enterprise

Obstacle 1: IT staff lack time to learn and implement technology.

According to the Forrester report, only 12% of enterprises have fully transitioned to modern tools for monitoring IT infrastructure and applications. Some 86% are using at least one legacy tool, and 37% are using only legacy tools—leaving staffs in survival mode, not in the progressive environment that affords time and flexibility for learning, scaling, and capitalizing on insights and visibility. Falling behind is costly in growth and revenue, so it’s critical for IT leaders to determine what applications quickly deliver capabilities most impactful to the business. Then, identify those and execute—yes, while also running legacy applications. Rebuilding the airplane while flying is difficult, but it’s the reality of the world of IT today.

Obstacle 2: Integrating new technology quickly requires organizational and cultural solidarity.

What often gets left out of the airplane metaphor is the teamwork underpinning these efforts. Leapfrogging ahead requires many different people, roles and teams coming together from different corners of an organization. While this can present cultural challenges, it’s key to think through your enterprise horizontally, across functions, offices and departments—including those typically operating separately. Shining a light on where organizational divisions are losing cohesiveness and how siloed teams think and work differently dismantles internal barriers and exposes shortfalls. This cultural solidarity is needed to break down silos because the difference between success and failure of adopting new technologies can come down to overcoming functional departmental challenges even when it comes to physically onboarding cutting edge tech like Kubernetes, containers, etc. This in turn creates new opportunities and, more importantly, clarifies IT priorities. For example, as the Forrester report notes, companies applying AI and machine-driven analytics to business and operations data can better correlate activities and produce real-time, predictive insights that improve collaboration, foster innovation and eliminate silos.

Obstacle 3: Lack of support for hybrid IT.

The numbers don’t lie: We know most companies are using a combination of modern and legacy tools. But most of these organizations also are prioritizing IT operations, including by using improved data/analytics technology (84%), investing in digital experience tools (81%) and increasing automation (71%). While forward-leaning goals and pervasive legacy systems don’t necessarily align, the dichotomy underscores the need for hybrid IT to facilitate both innovation and security, both essential legacy tools and new capabilities, and both the present and the future. Adopting modern platforms, including AI-enabled solutions that consolidate and automate, can serve as a path forward while maintaining run/operate and promoting future advancement.

Obstacle 4: Complexity stifles IT’s role as a catalyst for change.

As Forrester notes, a third of companies use 20 or more tools in their IT operations, piling on complexity in tools and strategies that fail the organization. It’s obvious that complexity is crucial to address: A lack of consolidated, modern toolsets hinders advancement, agility and adaptability. Perhaps even more importantly, IT complexity racks up high costs to support the environment; degrades services, performance and availability; and creates security risks. It’s unnecessary: Companies can consolidate IT- and data- monitoring tools into a single solution that handles the vast majority of those functions. This saves money, empowers IT teams, boosts productivity and delivers improved customer experience. By trimming down the number of tools used to monitor and manage infrastructure, everyone benefits.

Obstacle 5: There’s an inability to understand business impact in order to prioritize tasks.

As outages disrupt business operations, the company loses in both operational costs per minute and lost revenue per hour. For 34% of companies in the Forrester report, performance outages averaged between $100 to $999 per minute in operational costs. For 29% of companies, lost revenue averaged $100 to $999 per hour. These costs are just one perspective of cascading effects, but business impacts—whether in dollar figures or performance metrics—cannot drive evolution without holistic, end-to-end visibility. It’s difficult to determine the best IT investment or the most high-priority tasks if there’s no big-picture view of aggregate service performance. With an analytics-driven, service-level view, companies can achieve predictive, real-time outcomes and resolutions—and better position organizations to meet and exceed today’s crucial demands, instead of merely staying relevant.