4 Key Takeaways from the Salesforce State of IT Report

November 10, 2017 Shelbi Gomez

The following article, by Shelbi Gomez, senior communications manager for Workfront, is inspired by a session at the Dreamforce 2017 conference. Enjoy!

At Dreamforce 17, Vala Afshar, Huffington Post columnist and chief digital evangelist for Salesforce, unveiled the findings from their second annual State of IT research report. The survey findings come from over 2,200 senior level IT professionals from around the globe.

Here are the four strategies that top-performing IT leaders should adopt to propel their business into the fourth industrial revolution.

1. IT Must Function as an Extension of Other Business Units

Customer experience should be every IT department’s product. In fact, the survey findings showed that 71% of IT organizations are shifting efforts from being a technology-providing cost center to a value-based service brokerage over the next 12-18 months.

Get our free ebook What IT Execs Want Most from Project Managers to get insight from eight industry experts.

One way to do this is to go to other line-of-business owners and make suggestions about the technology they should be leveraging to grow revenue and increase retention within their department.

One technology businesses can use to align their departments and teams so that everyone is working toward the same goals and priorities is a cloud-based work management tool. Communication, task management, and project deadlines can all be managed in a way that streamlines efforts.

Another tactic Vala recommended is partnering with other business leaders and proactively inviting yourself to their meetings—and inviting them to your meetings—so that relationships can be built and both teams can leverage one another’s expertise in technology.

2. There are No IT Projects, Only Business Projects

“CIOs that can help transform their businesses and delight their stakeholders are poised to become the next CEOs,” said Vala.

When everyone understands how a project ties into overall goals and teams are organized in ways that make them powerfully effective, CIOs are better equipped to make this transformation. They can use current technology and work management tools to keep teams organized and productive so they can meet stakeholder expectations.

Vala also said:

“Extraordinary CIOs are the ones that are putting customer experience at the center of their decision making and they also believe that there are not IT projects, only business projects.”


3. Speed is the New Currency of Digital Business

According to Vala, IT teams need to ramp up delivery cadence but lag behind the pace of business.

According to the survey findings, only 45% of IT teams can design/prototype an app in under a month, and only 47% of IT teams can deploy an app in under a month. IT needs to be able to match the demands and speed of their customers in order to be successful.

To keep up with these demands, teams can use a work management tool that allows them to collaborate, create project timelines, assign tasks, get approval, and more effectively execute projects in a timely manner.

4. Adaptability is the Highest Form of Intelligence

The pace of innovation is rapidly changing. In fact, it is changing at an unprecedented rate and technology leaders need to have this on their radar in order to be successful.

Vala said IT leaders have the opportunity to become the heroes in their offices by asking the right questions to help achieve the outcomes that the business wants.

In order to do this, IT leaders must partner with the business and become prescriptive with their use of analytics so that they can provide action to sales, service, marketing, IT, and R&D teams in terms of what they should be doing today to achieve the prediction of tomorrow.

He says this is the promise of AI, which is really "augmented insight," because it can help discover patterns and give insight to blind spots.

Challenges Ahead

The biggest hurdle and the biggest opportunity that IT professionals will have to face in the future is the skills gap. It is projected that there will be a shortage of 180,000 data scientists in the upcoming years, so education and diversity is paramount for IT teams to remain successful.

Add to that a robust work management tool and businesses will see more productive teams—which are all working in alignment with each other—to exceed company-wide goals.

To read the full State of IT report, click here.

To learn how email, meetings, and automation are shaping the future of work, download our 2017-2018 State of Enterprise Work Report.

About the Author

Shelbi Gomez

Shelbi is an experienced public relations professional with experience in both agency and corporate marketing environments. She currently guides brand awareness, market research, analyst relations, and customer content. She has nearly a decade of BtoB and BtoC experience helping companies tell their stories in the changing media landscape — in traditional media outlets, social media, and now through content marketing.

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