IT is trapped in a tactical view of the world and is ill equipped to genuinely transform businesses, according to a whitepaper from MuleSoft.

“IT teams are favouring tactical improvements rather than focusing on more transformative initiatives that deliver long-term business value,” the authors said.

The research suggested digital transformation is being hamstrung by a misunderstanding of the concept and how IT departments can enable it.

“Many organisations still have an antiquated notion of what digital transformation really means, despite the fact that 96 per cent said they are or plan to execute on related initiatives.”

Successful digital transformation relies on IT departments moving from support roles to facilitators, the authors said.

“IT is no longer just a corner office that offers infrastructure and troubleshooting. IT’s role needs to shift from the centralised support function to becoming the strategic business enabler, responsible for helping drive innovation.”

“IT is undergoing a cultural shift – from technology implementer to business enabler – and the business must change the way it operates and behaves.”

The challenge of two-speed IT

However, rather than enabling digital transformation, many IT departments are playing catchup with the changes required of two-speed IT, the authors said.

The laggards are still focusing on legacy systems and traditional IT roles, which is slowing digital transformation.

“The burden of maintaining legacy technologies is taking IT’s focus away from transformative initiatives that better serve the business.”

According the report, IT decision makers are not confident in achieving their digital transformation targets, with less than one in five being very confident in meeting this year’s digital transformation goals.

“In many cases, businesses aren’t confident in the time and resources they have available to manage both day-to-day tactical projects and long-term strategic initiatives,” the authors said.

“However, as evidenced by traditional retailers like Blockbuster and Borders, solely focusing on tactical projects will drown a company while visionaries like Amazon sail by.”

Organisations that have a better grasp on digital transformation understand IT department should drive change as well as handle the day to day, a message leaders need to communicate, the authors said.

“CIOs must educate their IT teams on what digital transformation truly means and provide guidance on how to align IT strategies with business goals.”

“It’s about the IT team enabling the whole business to innovate faster than competition and adapt quickly to market changes.”

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