CTOs are stretched thin — Mulesoft report shows just how much

Businesses will face serious productivity problems if they don’t spend more on IT resources.
13 February 2020

IT projects are stuck in a backlog. Source: Shutterstock

You’d be hard-pressed to find a CTO that wouldn’t (eagerly or eventually) confess their team is overstretched, but a new report by MuleSoft presents a new and worrying perspective on the scale of the problem.

Indeed, 59 percent of organizations with a headcount of 1,000 or more were unable to deliver all their projects last year, creating a backlog into 2020.

In the UK, the figure sat at more than three-quarters (76 percent).

The finding, which features in the San Francisco-based integration software giant’s 2020 Connectivity Benchmark Report, was drawn from a survey of 800 IT decision-makers — not a sample to be sniffed at.

The report reveals a productivity problem: with more than 90 percent of businesses in the midst of digital transformation, IT teams are being bundled with more demands from across the business — with execs under mounting pressure to digitize their operations.

The growing reliance on IT is not being met by sufficiently increased resources. IT budgets will rise by less than 10 percent in the year ahead, despite workloads ramping up 40 percent this year — up from 33 percent last year.

Businesses are under increasing pressure to transform digitally or risk a negative impact on revenues, commented Ian Fairclough, Vice-President of Services, EMEA at MuleSoft, adding “Traditional IT operating models are broken.”

Indeed, part of the problem seems to be an out-of-date, business-wide misunderstanding of the purpose IT teams now must serve.

Priorities are no longer about “keeping the lights on” yet that is what their limited resources must be assigned to. A recent Vanson Bourne study found 49 percent of IT stakeholders said daily upkeep was perceived as their function’s primary objective.

At the same time, IT functions are expected to deal with cyber threats snowballing in volume and sophistication — where a rogue link click can cost a business hundreds of millions of dollars — and lead the successful integration and deployment of new technologies.

There must be a wide awakening to how much importance and value is now placed on the IT department, and just how central a driver it has become to today’s businesses as the new “epicenter” of revenue-driving digital transformation initiatives.

As Mulesoft’s study demonstrates, the current status quo isn’t sustainable. After all, backlogs lead to lost productivity, and that leads to losing pace against more forward-thinking and strategic technology spenders.

While it may be the CTOs and their teams that are stretched thin and stressed out today, it’s the entire business that will suffer tomorrow.