Most organizations lack the IT infrastructure needed to meet staff and customer needs, according to a new study by Softchoice, a North American IT solutions and services provider, and virtualization software company VMware.

The study, surveying 250 full-time IT managers and 750 full-time line-of-business managers in the U.S., focused on the significant competitive gap between organizations with efficient infrastructure and those without. According to the study, IT departments with the “right” infrastructure are four times more likely to deploy new applications within one business week compared to those that don’t have that structure. They are also two times more likely to move processing workloads across servers the same day and three times more likely to accommodate front office requests the same week.

The right infrastructure is defined as being one that “meets front office employee needs from responsiveness and capacity to connectivity and remote access.”

Among the findings on organizations that lack the infrastructure:

•    61 percent virtualize less than half of their IT environments
•    46 percent automate one quarter or less of the processes associated with application rollouts
•    46 percent have no hybrid cloud capabilities
•    25 percent don’t have centralized management of their IT environment
•    64 percent don’t have chargeback capabilities

The study also found a disconnect between IT managers’ prioritized tasks and the ones on which they spend most of their time. Respondents ranked their ideal responsibilities, in descending order, as: security, maintenance, strategy, help desk. In actuality, most of their time is spent on: maintenance, security, help desk, and then strategy.

Other insight from IT manager respondents include that:

•    65 percent think their colleagues view them as a help desk and not a strategic partner
•    55 percent think their colleagues view them as a gatekeeper versus an enabler
•    70 percent spend less than 25 percent of their week on strategic projects, though 28 percent think they should spend 25 to 50 percent of their time on these projects

While most managers (83 percent) that don’t have the right infrastructure think their organization needs to increase its technology spend (along with 71 percent of front office managers), of those with the “right” infrastructure, 62 percent of IT managers and 50 percent of front office manager feel the same way.

More than half of front office managers (57 percent) think their organization should invest more in IT, and three out of four of them are willing to spend more of their own budget to accomplish that.

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