Even now, many companies have barely started IT modernization: IBM survey

According to the findings, 60% of tech leaders say their companies are currently not ready for the IT needs of the future 

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Many corporate IT leaders say their organizations are not prepared for the future IT needs of the business and nearly all are moving to advance their transition to cloud infrastructure, according to a new survey by IBM.

Among nearly 400 CIOs and CTOs at mid-sized and large companies in the U.S. and the U.K., 60% say their company's IT modernization program is not yet ready for the future, according to the recently completed "The State of IT Transformation Study".  Nearly a quarter of CIOs and CTOs (24%) surveyed say their company is just starting its IT modernization journey or has yet to begin modernizing, with about a third surveyed saying they are still in the midst of transformation, IBM said.

As a result, more than 95% of the IT leaders said they are looking to adopt public, hybrid or private cloud strategies. Of those, many are moving at an aggressive pace.  The study reveals that 53% of respondents are aggressively pursuing a public cloud strategy, 48% a hybrid cloud strategy and 45% a private cloud strategy, according to the tech giant.

"Our clients are looking to accelerate IT modernization by leveraging cloud models - both public and hybrid, data, AI, automation and other key technologies to help shape, scale and manage more effectively massive, complex, global architectures," said Archana Vemulapalli, General Manager, IBM Infrastructure Services - Offerings and CTO. "In this rapidly changing digital business environment, organizations can bring in the right technology and the right partners to help aggregate, integrate, build and maintain a scalable digital business, while also enforcing effective governance."

The pressures on IT infrastructures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have further accelerated the need for cloud infrastructure, professional skills development, and security upgrades, the survey found. More than 60% of technology leaders surveyed say they expect increased demand for cloud infrastructure to be permanent.

Even as IT leaders are feeling increased urgency to accelerate their organizations' transformation, migrating to a multi-cloud environment can present significant challenges to organizations with legacy applications running large data pools.

What's more, many surveyed technology leaders are not sure they have the right teams in place. A full 40% of respondents do not feel their teams have the right skills to fully meet their IT ambitions, and more than three in four surveyed say they will rely more on trusted partners that can provide managed infrastructure services.

Most CIOs and CTOs (67%) surveyed cite the need for increased infrastructure flexibility as driving the digital transformation, followed by the need for competitive advantage (61%), cost savings (58%), increasing globalization (54%) and meeting client demands (45%).

The study also revealed significant differences in the U.S. and U.K. markets. For example, while approximately 56% of U.S. respondents say they are aggressively moving their IT infrastructure to hybrid cloud, only 38% of respondents in the U.K. describe their approach as aggressive. And while 56% of CIOs/CTOs surveyed in the U.S. say their IT infrastructures were completely prepared for the business changes brought on by COVID-19, only 23% of U.K. managers surveyed felt as prepared.

The new study surveyed 380 CIOs and CTOs at mid-sized ($/£50 million - $/£999 million in annual revenue) and large corporations ($/£1 billion + in annual revenue) in the two countries (210 in the U.S., 170 in the U.K.), according to IBM. 

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