Company News • 22.10.2014

9 in 10 retail leaders want more influence over IT decisions and budgets

Research reveals an IT power shift underway in UK retailers

9 in 10 retail leaders want more influence over IT decisions and budgets...
Source: Logicalis

IT must do more to support customer-centric business goals of British retailers, according to an independent survey of 100 business decision-makers in UK retail organisations. The findings, published today in the Logicalis Retail IT Report 2014, chart the changing business relationship with the IT department, rise of Shadow IT and future retail technology demands.

The top three business priorities for the decision-makers polled were: (1) improve customer satisfaction; (2) improve customer loyalty; and (3) attract new customers. However less than 1 in 5 believe that their IT team is fully aware of these.

With 66% reporting an IT communications gap and 43% a misalignment of goals, the research points to an industry ready for a new approach to technology innovation as decision-makers call for increased IT control (92%) and a more consultative relationship with their IT department.

Gerry Carroll, author of the report at Logicalis UK, comments, "With 8 in 10 already bypassing IT for some purchases, the statistics show rising pressure from departmental heads to align more closely with business strategy. The message is clear: it's time to stop sweating the small stuff and re-shape the IT function to focus on high value, strategic initiatives.

The survey was undertaken by Vanson Bourne and commissioned by Logicalis UK. Further findings from the research include:

The IT Communications Gap

  • Just 1 in 10 believe the IT services team currently matches all of their departmental needs, and less than one third say IT makes a significant contribution to achieving business goals.
  • 43% connect with the IT team at least once a week, yet two-thirds report communications issues.
  • 36% say IT meets their needs as and when they arise, but more complain of misaligned goals (43%) and an IT team that's too technical and difficult to understand (39%).
  • 31% said IT disallows the use of the applications, services and devices that they would like.

Shadow IT and the Call for more Control

  • 92% want to take increased responsibility for IT. On average they believe this will come in the next 12 months and over half believe they already have the knowledge needed to take control of IT decisions.
  • 80% have bypassed the IT team for technology purchases and decisions.
  • 39% believed sourcing technology was easier and quicker without involving IT. The top reasons for evasion were: (1) they slow things down - 41%; (2) too much red tape - 40%; and (3) ‘I know what I need better than the IT team' - 40%.

More Consultancy and Innovation

  • Less than 6% believe that day-to-day services (IT support and systems management) should be considered a priority for the IT team in the next 2-5 years.
  • The top three priorities for IT, according to business decision makers, should be Innovation of technology and services for delivering better business efficiency, technology strategy and implementation for delivering on departmental priorities and providing guidance and consultancy to business leaders to maximise existing IT and help make future IT decisions

Retail IT Investment Priorities

  • More than half offer wireless in-store for customers, and a further 24% plan to in the next year. The top business driver for those deploying in-store wireless, ‘customers want it' (67%), outstripped customer engagement initiatives such as ‘the ability to engage/push offers to customers while they shop' (18%).
  • 97% use, or plan to use, data information & analytics for informing business decisions. Yet, only 4% are anticipating future trends that could influence business performance with predictive analytics.
  • 65% have used cloud for over 12 months; only 7% do not plan future implementations.
  • The top three IT investments decision-makers believe will make the most difference to them are: 1) cloud; 2) wireless access and 3) smart devices and new customer engagement channels.

Carroll concludes, "As this IT power-shift gathers pace in retail, the onus on IT Leaders to educate, guide and consult on best use of technology is becoming increasingly important.

"The stats show that reliance on mobility, cloud and business analytics is already high in retail, yet there's more to be done to exploit these technologies to drive forward their customer-centric business goals. That's where IT Leaders can really add value. Those adopting a collaborative approach that aligns decision-maker needs and IT's strategic advice, consultancy and knowledge, will be best positioned to exploit IT investment for gaining real business advantage."

The full Logicalis Retail IT Survey Report can be downloaded here.

Source: Logicalis

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