A survey of 600 senior IT decision makers found that enterprises plan to invest, on average, $33 million on IT modernization over the next 12 months to achieve digital business transformation initiatives that have shifted in the last few years.
Conducted by Couchbase, a provider of NoSQL database platform, the survey also finds 60% of respondents identify their key modernization goal to be to improve business resilience and efficiency in the face of the evolving global economy. Well over half (58%) say that their projects have become more targeted towards specific business outcomes.
More than three quarters (78%) also noted their main transformation priorities have changed in the last three years, with more than half noting their focus is now more on reacting to market changes and customer preferences to enable the organization to remain agile. Well over a third (38%) are focusing on tangible modernization projects that will provide immediate results. Only 22% said their priorities have stayed the same over the last three years.
That focus on resiliency and efficiency represents a shift in modernization priorities that is being driven by a need to reduce the total cost of IT without introducing any additional risk to the business, says Jeff Morris, vice president of product marketing for Couchbase. That shift suggests organizations are looking to address outstanding technical debt that has been allowed to accrue over the past few years before investing in additional projects involving, for example, artificial intelligence (AI), he adds. “There’s more focus on cleaning up the mess,” says Morris.
Pressure from developers to support agile development and innovation (44%), and empowering developers to build more applications to meet customer needs (44%) were, as a consequence, the top two drivers behind transformation projects, the survey finds.
The top technologies organizations are investing in, as a result, are serverless computing (42%), edge computing and IoT (40%) and low- or no-code technologies (39%) followed by large language models (LLMs) for building artificial intelligence (AI) models.
Overall, more than half (53%) of respondents said their organization is either on target (31%) or ahead of their planned progress (22%), with increased business resilience (57%) being the most common benefit from digital projects in the past 12 months. Well over half (54%) claimed to have made “significant” or better improvements to the end-user experience.
The survey also notes, however, that, on average, organizations invested 14% of their digital transformation budgets in projects that failed, were canceled or suffered significant delays. More than two-thirds (68%) said these failures, cancellations and delays pushed back digital transformation goals by more than three months, with nearly a quarter (24%) admitting to delays of more than six months.
However, well over a third (38%) noted they do not have a clear sense of the top priorities for new transformation projects. In addition, the survey finds nearly half of respondents (49%) reporting their chief financial officer (CFO) is managing budgets in more detail, with 37% noting that pressure to achieve transformation with less budget and staff resources has increased in the last 12 months. More than a third (35%) said their IT department is under more strain now than at any other point in the last five years.
Modernization within the context of digital business transformation is, of course, no longer an event but rather a continuous never-ending process during which different priorities ebb and flow.