Australian organisations are at an important crossroads when it comes to meeting the challenges of digital transformation and it’s bringing to light some of the clear and present difficulties that the IT department are, and have been, facing.

Technology’s role in driving business success and innovation continues to rise sharply, yet the IT departments themselves are struggling more than ever to acquire the resources – and respect – needed to do their jobs in these new IT-heavy business environments.

These are some of the key findings of a new study ‘The Transforming Role of IT in Australian Mid-Market Organisations’, recently published by Brennan IT.

Digital transformation is a ripe opportunity for IT teams, but they’re being marginalised

The study showed that only 16% of IT managers in mid-sized (100-1,000 staff) organisations saw their role within their organisations as ‘strategic’, compared to 40% who said it was merely ‘operational’.

Even though close to half of those surveyed (44%) said IT was perceived as having an ‘evolving’ role, there is clearly a worryingly lack of regard when it comes to the biggest challenges that many organisations are currently facing: digital transformation.

Only 8% of those surveyed felt that the IT team are seen as ‘leaders’ when it came to transformation, a fact made more worrying by the revelation 9% think they are seen as ‘handbrakes’!  The majority of respondents saw their role as being that of an ‘Enabler/Supporter’ (55%).

Digital transformation represents a real opportunity for the IT department and it’s critical not just for them, but the wider business, that they become more heavily involved in the process – especially at a strategic level. Not only are IT teams subject matter experts on networking, security, and other technical areas, but they also have the best view of how different people within their organisations operate, where they intersect with technology and where those technologies meet, and how data is stored and accessed (as well as by what and whom).

Connecting people, processes, data and technology is the IT department’s daily role and it’s within digital transformation that they have the opportunity to not only lead but make a huge impact on organisational growth long into the future.

Discover more about the changing role of the IT team by downloading our new eBook ‘Defining the IT department’s new role and the future of Managed Services’ now.

New tech isn’t being used

Just 9%of respondents felt that their organisation was making the most of new technologies. A full 30% answered a flat-out ‘no’ when asked about this, with 61% reporting their organisation was ‘somewhat’ making the most out of new technologies.

At a time when digital transformation is being touted as critical for organisations hoping to remain competitive and drive innovation, this must surely be a source of great frustration for IT departments, not to mention a signal of growing business risk across the organisation, especially as better-resourced enterprises continue to move ahead.

Far and away the biggest obstacle to digital transformation was ‘time and budget’, with 64% respondents to the Brennan IT survey highlighting this as their biggest or second biggest concern.

This was followed by dealing with the challenges of ‘legacy technology’, which scored 28%. Slow decision making was next with 21%, with ‘poor inter-team/department relations’ and ‘lack of leadership’ each accounting for 17% of respondents’ biggest two concerns.

More mid-sized firms are seeking help

In order to meet the rising challenges of doing business in a digital world, survey respondents said they expected to outsource significantly more of their IT systems to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers. In particular, outsourcing to Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) providers would likely increase by around 20% on average across Australian mid-sized organisations surveyed, expressed as a proportion of all systems in operation.

Outsourcing to SaaS providers is expected to rise by 9% in-line with the existing trend towards use of external managed service providers amongst mid-sized Australian organisations.

Already, half of the survey respondents said they used external providers as part of an ‘ongoing integrated operational model’.

Further reflecting this trend, 52% of respondents reported that only 52% of IT activity is currently conducted inhouse.

When asked about their reasons for this, a full 85% of respondents answered to ‘Access specialist skills & expertise’. The next closest answer, to ‘Fill internal resource gaps’, was given by only a third of respondents.

This says a lot about the specific challenges facing IT departments of deploying newer and more sophisticated technologies currently driving digital transformation.

Australian IT professionals have an opportunity and really drive digital transformation within their organisations, promoting and enhancing their roles and growing their horizons in the process.

But they don’t need to go it alone.

It’s possible to utilise the support of external expertise to start and see-through the process, but time really is of the essence because if you or someone else within your organisation is not willing to step-up, then your organisation risks disruption and greater existential threats.


Brennan IT is one of Australia’s top business technology and managed services providers with the expertise and experience to help leverage digital technologies and solutions to begin transforming your organisation today.

Want to know more?

Connect with the Brennan IT team, and speak to one of our specialists.