Chief Content Officer,
Techstrong Group

A report published by NTT Data finds only roughly half (51%) of organizations have fully aligned their technology approaches to their business strategy needs, with another 39% reporting they are partially aligned.

Based on an analysis of 248 million active assets across 130 countries conducted over two years and a survey of up to 1,442 senior technology decision makers, the survey finds 86% of respondents admit inadequate or outdated technology is holding back innovation.

That issue will become even more problematic as organizations look to operationalize artificial intelligence, says Gary Middleton, vice president of networking for NTT Data. Organizations are most often going to bring AI models to where their data resides rather than trying to move all data in the cloud, he notes. “They are taking a more pragmatic approach,” says Middleton. “The compute is coming to the data.”

The challenge is most of that data still resides in on-premises IT environments running on legacy IT infrastructure that needs to be upgraded, he adds. Nearly two-thirds (64%) said they have accumulated technical debt that requires allocation of resources to support and a full 71% of respondents specifically noted their network assets are mostly ageing or obsolete. A total of 90% said innovation and software-defined network virtualization are now driving the need for more holistic and agile networks.

The NTT report also estimates more than two thirds (69%) of currently active hardware will no longer be supported by 2027.

In general, businesses are more dependent on technology than ever, says Middleton. Over dependence on legacy infrastructure that isn’t regularly updated adversely affects an organization’s ability to compete, he adds. Hopefully, investments in AI will enable IT leaders to simultaneously upgrade much of the IT infrastructure that models will be deployed on in the month ahead, notes Middleton.

As IT environments become more hybrid, each organization will need to decide what mix of cloud computing and on-premises environments makes the most sense for them. The survey notes that while spending on software-as-a-service and cloud platforms has increased, spending on hardware has only decreased 15% since 2020. Most IT organizations still need endpoints and networks to access applications no matter where they reside.

Digital CxOs, naturally, should be doing everything they can to align business priorities with IT budgets, but when most of that spending is already consumed by legacy applications, that can be a bigger challenge than they appreciate. Having a little empathy for the challenges IT leaders face is going to ultimately provide better results for all concerned. The issue is that far too many business leaders are unwilling to replace or simply retire many of the legacy applications that most IT leaders would just as soon get rid of in the first place.

Of course, most business executives are going to be reticent to do that when the modern digital processes that are supposed to replace those applications have yet to prove they are up to the task. As a result, many organizations may find themselves stuck between the proverbial rock and hard place for longer than anyone might want to actually admit.