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Nearly Two-Thirds of Enterprises Feel That Their Networks Are Not Fully Ready to Support Their Business, Finds Accenture Report

Misalignment between IT and business needs cited as among top barriers to limiting the effectiveness of enterprise networks

A new report from Accenture (NYSE: ACN) reveals that while enterprises have embraced advanced digital technologies, such as IoT/edge computing (77 percent), big data/analytics (83 percent) and digital customer experience (78 percent), only 36 percent are “very satisfied” that their network currently has the capabilities required to support their business needs. That leaves 64 percent that see room for improvement.

digital-customer-experience

Based on a global survey of 300 senior IT and business executives from large enterprises, the report titled “Network Readiness Survey, Is your business ready for a connected future?” shows that less than 40 percent of respondents are “very satisfied” with their overall capability (36 percent) and bandwidth (38 percent). Half or less reported being “very satisfied” with their network performance (43 percent), security (50 percent) and reliability (50 percent). Moreover, these levels remained largely the same when considering their networks’ ability to meet the needs of the business in 18-24 months. Less than half (43 percent) indicated their networks are completely ready to support cloud and digital technologies.

The report points to the “misalignment between IT and business needs” as the main obstacle to keeping networks in line with business demands, identified as a top barrier by 48 percent of respondents. The second and third most commonly cited barriers were “inherent complexities between business requirements and operational needs” (45 percent) and “demands for bandwidth, performance, etc., outpacing the ability to deliver” (45 percent).

This apparent misalignment between IT and the business is supported by the disparity in perceived barriers to network performance when replies are broken down by job title (i.e., CIO/CTO, Directors/VPs of Infrastructure/Network and Line of Business EVP/VP). No single issue appears in the top three barriers cited by respondents from all job categories. In fact, each role sees a different barrier as the greatest challenge.

The mismatch of perceptions is also apparent on whether key network decisions are made in collaboration between IT and the business. Overall, less than half of respondents said the process was “always collaborative.” However, CIOs/CTOs tend to see a greater amount of collaboration, with 58 percent responding “always collaborative,” compared to 45 percent of business executives and just 28 percent of their direct reports.

“Business demands have outpaced the ability of IT to deliver services. Our research shows that organizations have more work to do to ensure that network limitations do not prevent them from meeting their current and future business goals. IT and business leaders need to collaborate more when making decisions about the network,” said Prasad Sankaran, senior managing director and global lead of Intelligent Cloud & Infrastructure at Accenture.

“Our clients must be ready for the future amidst escalating costs, legacy infrastructure and compliance requirements. Supporting new digital services with existing networks requires a clear strategy for increasing capacity, deploying new technologies, and efficient network management. It’s about having a comprehensive device to cloud infrastructure plan for innovation,” Sankaran added.

The report was developed in collaboration with Cisco Systems on the heels of two recently published white papers entitled “Long Live the Network: The Rise of Network Automation” and “Are You Going Digital without a Net?”

Methodology

Accenture surveyed 300 senior IT and business executives to discover how ready enterprise networks are to meet today’s demands, and how prepared executives feel about meeting future requirements. The blind survey included executives from companies with annual revenues in excess of US$1 billion. Respondents came from 10 industries and seven countries. Participants from IT included CIOs/CTOs, their direct reports, and vice presidents (VPs) or directors of infrastructure/network. The business respondents included line-of-business executive vice presidents (EVPs) and VPs.

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