IT performance is needed to help companies keep up with growing demands for information.
Do companies have a digital IQ? Is there some measurement of how well they "get" technology and leverage it in ways that improve their standing in their markets and with their customers? Can companies somehow improve this measure?
Indeed, they do, and indeed, they can, at least according to some work going on at PriceWaterhouseCoopers. For the past four-plus years, the consulting company has undertaken a survey that aims to investigate Corporate America's digital IQ, looking at both the use of particularly significant technologies, such as mobile and business intelligence, and processes such as strategic planning and roadmap execution.
Like much of the research PwC undertakes, this survey's results are consistently revealing. And best of all, they are available for downloading at no charge.
The most recent Digital IQ survey, based on responses collected from nearly 500 US companies with $500 million or more in revenue, reveals some interesting items, including evidence of the ongoing "consumerization" of IT.
This is reflected in the fact that two thirds of companies told PwC that they are investing in mobile technologies for use by their employees. Increasingly, employees' familiarity with and demand for the latest Web and mobile technologies is forcing corporate IT's hand. And that, I imagine, has implications for the corporate datacenter, where applications must have sufficient performance to serve higher transaction loads, for instance.
But not only do employees expect good mobile tools to use, customers also "expect to interact with firms on the platform and device of their choice." The survey found 45 percent of respondents indicating that they are interacting with customers via mobile technology in a significant way. Among top-performing companies, the figure was much higher, at 66 percent, leading PwC analysts to conclude that there is, in general, an under-investment in customer-focused mobile solutions.
Again, accelerating IT infrastructure is turning out to be key in gaining the performance needed to serve large and growing crowds of mobile-equipped and ever-demanding customers.
A major aspect of mobile, of course, is social media. These channels can "add a new dimension to the entire product lifecycle and create more regular interaction across the lifespan of a product or service," PwC asserts. Yet, many companies are not taking the plunge as they might. Only about a third (37 percent) of survey respondents indicated any investment in corporate social media efforts.
Not surprisingly, the most aggressive social media effort was seen in the retail and consumer sector. But it is surprising to see that the industrial product sector was on par with retailing, with both registering at 50 percent. Facebook, Twitter, and industry-specific online communities are the most popular with companies, followed closely by blogging.
As PwC views it, cloud-based computing is the single biggest driver of IT's ongoing consumerization. It enables individuals to gain access to vast vistas of information, organize events on the fly, and execute all sorts of complicated tasks, all through hand-held devices. In short, PwC argues, cloud computing is a source of business agility.
Among top performing companies, roughly half had invested more than $1 million in public cloud applications, 44 percent had invested $1 million or more in public cloud infrastructure, and nearly three fifths had invested at that level in private cloud technology.
If the past is any indication, PwC's next Digital IQ findings will be hitting the streets very soon now. I look forward to seeing what new observations the company will have gleaned.