2019 IT Operations Survey Results: IT Decision Making and the State of IT Maturity

Women in a business meeting

In today’s digital age, IT plays a huge role in the growth of a business by driving innovation and enabling companies to maintain an edge over their competitors. The 2019 Kaseya State of IT Operations Survey Report takes an in-depth look at the current challenges, priorities and trends in IT for small to midsize businesses. The report also looks at the influence of IT decision-makers on business decisions.

When asked about the person responsible for making major IT decisions in the company, one-third of respondents (33 percent) said the director of IT is the primary decision maker, whereas one-fifth (19 percent) selected CIO as the chief IT decision maker. This indicates that for many small businesses the IT Director is the most senior IT manager; i.e. there is no CIO.

Who is the IT Decision Maker?
Figure 1: Who is the IT Decision Maker?

When it comes to rating the degree of influence the head of the IT department has on C-level decision-making within the company, nearly half (43 percent) of respondents stated that the head of IT has a great deal of influence. Another 37 percent said the head of IT has a fair amount of influence.

Degree of influence on C-level decisions (2017 to 2019)
Figure 2: Degree of influence on C-level decisions (2017 to 2019)

This is great as it indicates that many businesses realize the critical importance of IT in driving business growth and profitability. However, despite this growing influence, the level of IT operational maturity has not risen over the past several years.

IT Maturity Remains Low

IT maturity of a company is measured on a broad set of capabilities of the IT department – including its ability to achieve better business outcomes. The 2019 IT Operations Survey sheds light on the state of IT maturity in small and midsize businesses (SMBs) and the result is rather bleak.

IT operational maturity levels among SMBs have stayed at the low end of the maturity scale and showed no signs of improvement over the past three years.

The 2019 survey results found more than one-third of IT teams (35 percent of all the participants) to be consistently at the lowest level of maturity (reactive), and more than half to be at the two lowest levels— ‘reactive’ and ‘efficient.’ This reflects a constant firefighting mode of IT operation, which is not a healthy place to be.

Only 4 percent of respondents indicated they are at the second highest level of operational maturity ‘aligned’, where they are tracking and managing against service-level agreements (SLAs). Further, only 11 percent of respondents said they have a strategy in place to add value to their business, thus putting them at ‘strategic’, the highest level of IT operational maturity.

IT Maturity Level
Figure 3: IT Maturity Level

Lack of formal Service Level Agreements Consistent with Lower Maturity 

When asked if IT departments have formal service level agreements (SLAs) covering the availability and performance of IT services to the business, about 43 percent of all the survey participants responded with a “No.” Furthermore, another third of respondents said that their SLAs are “more of a guideline than a requirement.”

Not surprisingly, 58 percent of the participants who do not have formal SLAs are at the bottom of the IT operational maturity ladder (Reactive). If you want to raise your operational maturity, one good way to do that is to have formal SLAs. In our survey, 44 percent of the organizations that have SLAs are at the two highest levels of maturity.

Other Ways to Improve IT Operational Maturity

Organizations that implement a remote monitoring and endpoint management solution typically improve IT efficiency, and maturity, dramatically. This happens for a number of reasons, including:

  • Remote monitoring and management of endpoints allow technicians to efficiently resolve IT issues with minimal disruption of end-users and without having to travel to the device location.
  • IT automation drives huge efficiency gains by minimizing the involvement of IT technicians in many common IT processes. Scripts that execute automatically based on policies take care of the vast majority of everyday tasks and can also auto-remediate common issues.
  • Integrated workflows across the endpoint management solution, service desk and knowledge management tools further increase IT efficiency. Access IT asset information when and where you need it to help resolve IT incidents and close service tickets faster. This lets you meet or exceed your SLAs, too!

To learn more, download the complete report of 2019 Kaseya State of IT Operations Report for SMBs here.

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