Social platforms, mobile technology, cloud, big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) mean that organisations have practically unlimited ways of doing business. The technology choices keep coming and it can be hard for organisations to find the time needed to make a measured decision on new technology that could be key to future business growth and competitive advantage.

Companies built to survive the future are no accident. They are a result of deliberate business design decisions smart leaders are making today. The journey to digital business is defining the future of service needs. They want to know how to keep using their legacy IT while still reaping the promised benefits of cloud solutions in a hybrid IT environment. They often have overstretched IT teams and internal innovation barriers. Most importantly, they don’t yet have someone they can trust to help transform their business.

The challenge can seem insurmountable but, with the right partner, it is possible for organisations to not only embrace transformative change but to benefit significantly from it. The key is to change the discussion. In the past, IT infrastructure decisions were made by the CIO or IT manager: technically-oriented people making decisions based on product features and benefits.

Now, CEOs and CFOs are driving conversations about new technology requirements because they know they can leverage IT investments to take their business to the next level.

Six barriers to transformation

1. Budget

A lack of available funds is a highly-visible reason to not adopt new technology and is, anecdotally, a commonly-cited cause. On top of the cost of the technology itself and its implementation, companies must also invest in training and change management for the new technology to be successful. For companies focused on break-fix or just keeping the status quo operational, finding the budget for an entirely new project can seem impossible.

2. Knowledge

Knowledge, or lack thereof, can be an invisible barrier to IT success. In many organisations, the CIO is considered the pinnacle of knowledge. Business leaders assume that CIOs know exactly what technology is out there and how it can be implemented to deliver benefits. While a good CIO will indeed be knowledgeable, it is not practical to assume they are completely aware of every possible solution, its pros and cons, and whether it can work for the organisation’s budget, user base and business requirements. Most CIOs simply don’t have the time it would take to conduct the necessary research.

3. Low expectations of the IT team

Sometimes organisations work from the perspective that the IT team exists to ‘keep the lights on’, not to deliver innovation. These organisations are missing out on the opportunity to gain maximum value from the IT team’s existing talent, knowledge and experience.

4. Mismatched expectations

After organisations set a budget, and even assuming they have chosen the perfect technology, there are still no guarantees that the project will be successful. This could be because the business leaders’ expectations differ from the IT or project team’s expectations. Once this happens, businesses end up with technology solutions that aren’t fit-for-purpose, don’t meet the requirements and, at worse, fail to gain user acceptance. This can mean the money spent on the project is partially or entirely wasted, and can leave the organisation in an even worse position.

5. Ineffective change management

The implementation project may have proceeded exactly according to expectations and the technology may be ideal for the business, but if users don’t embrace it, the project will not deliver strong results. Many companies fail to include end users in the process. This can leave users confused, unprepared and even frightened that the new technology will negatively affect their role.

6. Moving fast

So much technology is easily accessible by end users with nothing more than a credit card and an internet connection. When IT teams are perceived as not moving fast enough, business users often force change by taking matters into their own hands, downloading and implementing the apps they need. However, this approach creates technology silos and complexity, and increases cost and risk.