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racing horses starting a raceResearch from Trustmarque has highlighted 81% of CIOs believe legacy infrastructures are having a negative impact on the IT department’s productivity levels.

The report stated the majority of CIOs see the legacy systems as a drain on IT resources and 86% believe IT management has become more complex over the last five years, owing to the fact teams have to juggle between the impact of cloud and mobile, as well as delivering on legacy systems. Due to the increased number of SLA’s and an increasingly diverse number of vendors to support both new and legacy technologies, 58% are struggling to deliver a consistent level of IT across the business.

“Providing comprehensive, consistent IT support in today’s complex IT world is a huge challenge for CIOs. It’s unsurprising many are finding IT management a growing burden,” said Mike Henson, Director, Cloud and Managed Services, Trustmarque. “Particularly where there is a lot of legacy technology, CIOs have an important decision to make – whether to continue to support legacy IT, or explore migration to the cloud – where support costs can be considerably lower.

“Today, IT might be easier to use than ever, but it’s also much more complex to manage and support. The business IT model has shifted, digital experiences are high on the agenda, along with a desire to consume rather than build IT. This shift has caused considerable strain on CIOs’ time, resources and budgets.”

While cloud could now be seen as a priority throughout the industry, the majority of businesses are having to navigate a number of transformation projects to implement the technology. In reality, very few companies are in a position to deliver a Greenfield cloud proposition within their organization, leading to complications in managing the co-existence of cloud and legacy, as the report indicates.

One are which this is seemingly having a direct impact is on innovation. As IT complexity has increased, the report indicates the number of ‘tickets’ being raised throughout the business has also increased. This in turn keeps IT employees focused on operational tasks (“keeping the lights on”) as opposed to focusing on implementation of new technologies to support digital transformation projects. 77% of the CIOs questioned in the survey confirmed one of their top priorities was to reduce the proportion of internal resource devoted to operational IT, freeing team members up to invest more time in transformational IT projects.

“In today’s increasingly connected world, business IT is unpredictable – changing to reflect varied business needs and the ways in which modern employees want to work,” said Henson. “Many CIOs struggle to balance the need to run business IT as usual, while at the same time delivering innovative new services to demanding users. Clearly, CIOs recognise the growing need for continued innovation within their organisation – but also recognise that a lack of internal resources and skills can hamper this ambition.”

Although general consensus throughout the industry is leaning towards cloud penetrating the mainstream marketplace, it is unlikely we’ll see cloud and other emerging technologies as the default until resource can be effectively moved away from operational IT. A number of different businesses have stated the need to transform to remain competitive in the marketplace, thought the report does imply these projects are unlikely to succeed until the idea of IT as simply a support function is removed from the business mind-set.

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