Data security and data privacy have become such top-level concerns at many organizations that daily tasks around them are crowding out the ability to pursue technology innovation.

That is one of the findings of a new global study by Brocade entitled “Unlocking the Power of Digital Transformation: Freeing IT from Legacy Constraints.”

The study looked at perceptions in the IT department about a variety of strategic and operational issues, and included feedback from IT managers in the US, UK, Germany, Singapore, France and Australia.

IT leaders in the study revealed that daily tasks required of their staff—such as maintaining data security and privacy, and legacy systems—are taking so much time that opportunities to innovate and transform are being missed. Some 73 percent of respondents said security and privacy work is absorbing the most time, while 63 percent said legacy systems require significant time commitments.

That is impacting morale in IT. Some 72 percent of respondents felt frustrated when the IT department could not readily deliver what the business demanded. Further, businesses are “missing opportunities to unlock innovation more quickly and more effectively due to legacy technology and historical misperceptions about the role of IT departments,” the report noted.

There is no easy solution in sight, the report indicates, as organizations are increasing their efforts around data security and data privacy, not the opposite. This will continue to put a drain on IT resources.

According to the report, more than 70 percent of IT teams reported that they believe that if they had more opportunity to be flexible in their jobs, the organization could realize a number of key benefits. Those include:

  • Increased competitiveness, cited by 36 percent.
  • More time to focus on innovation, cited by 31 percent.
  • The elimination of shadow IT, cited by 30 percent.
  • Increased revenue, mentioned by 12 percent.
  • Decreased costs, cited by 10 percent.

While digital transformation is a big priority at many organizations, the study revealed that all the focus on data security and maintaining legacy systems is forcing IT departments to make unwelcome tradeoffs that affect their ability to embrace new technologies and approaches.

Some 87 percent of respondents are currently adopting digital transformation strategies, with 94 percent contending that their CIO views this as vital to achieving business objectives. Unfortunately, nearly four fifths (79 percent) said they are restricted in their ability to support it adequately.

Top reasons cited included the lack of budget (byt 49 percent of respondents); security concerns (43 percent); the inflexibility of current systems (26 percent); and the time drain of maintaining legacy systems (22 percent).

Perhaps most alarmingly, almost a third (29 percent) of respondents said the limits of legacy technology are preventing their IT department from delivering even on immediate business demands, let alone enabling innovation for the future.

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