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Three quarters of organizations stifled by rising technology debt and low cloud maturity, Avanade study finds

Rising technology debt, low levels of cloud maturity and lack of inhouse skills are stifling global competitiveness, innovation and speed to market, according to Avanade, the leading digital innovator on the Microsoft ecosystem. A new global study has found organizations could earn an extra $1B per year in revenue and reduce operational costs by more than 11 percent through adopting a holistic approach to cloud technology, apps and modern engineering techniques - what Avanade calls being 'ready by design.'

Avanade's survey of more than 1,600 C-level executives revealed that just 12 percent of respondents describe their cloud capability as optimized and 45 percent say they're still at the 'initial' or 'opportunistic' stage of their journey. Only 27 percent believing that their cloud strategy will be fully optimized by 2023. Technology debt, the costs and challenges of maintaining and integrating legacy technology, was also predicted to increase over the same period, from 17 percent to 19 percent. Around three quarters of business leaders say this drain on budgets and associated security concerns over legacy platforms is impacting speed to market (76 percent), innovation (74 percent) and their ability to retain technical professionals (74 percent).

"We know that digital disruption is pervasively impacting all industries, and it poses a very real threat, even to well established businesses," says Adam Wengert, global applications and infrastructure lead, Avanade. "Cloud maturity is creating a two-tier business landscape with digital laggards finding themselves stagnating while their digital-native competitors are steaming ahead. The point of differentiation comes from the natives' ability to pivot towards opportunity and away from threats within days, not months and years, thanks to their cloud-based architecture."

One of the main causes of the debt, according to the research, is that only one fifth of applications have been rebuilt for the cloud. However, with 88 percent of respondents agreeing that innovative applications have a direct impact on growth and 94 percent identifying increasing sales and revenue as a priority over the next 12 months, it's not surprising to see a consensus from the study around the value of cloud-based custom-built applications. Nearly 9 in 10 (89 percent) executives acknowledged that human-centred apps, those that place human needs as a higher priority, are vital for growing or defend an existing market position.

"For organizations to be successful they need to be able to move quickly to deliver customer value that can increase sales and revenue. Mobile applications are just one example of where digital natives are using human-centred apps to disrupt established markets. Mobile apps present a powerful channel to bring businesses closer to their customers, providing a more personalized service and facilitating their journeys. That is just the beginning though. Successful businesses will be those that are not afraid to experiment, that truly drive enterprise innovation and get new ideas into market faster, and more often than their competitors," explains Wengert.

However, one obstacle that hinders an organization's ability to seize an opportunity and experiment is the need to liberate talent to use proven modern software product engineering approaches. Around half (52 percent) of respondents cited people and skills issues as the biggest obstacle to adopting modern software product engineering practices inhouse.

"Agile, DevOps and other modern approaches will have a significant impact on improving reaction times and speed to market, making an organization more product and customer centric. However, with the lack of inhouse skills, enterprises can find themselves further paralysed, despite recognizing the need to be 'ready by design.' To accelerate digital maturity, enterprises need to take a holistic approach - keeping apps, cloud and people at the forefront of their business strategy; otherwise the outlook for cloud maturity and acceleration - and indeed enterprises themselves - is not going to improve," concludes Wengert.

Published Wednesday, February 26, 2020 5:02 PM by David Marshall
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