Despite the competitive pressure to create more agile organizations able to respond to changing customer and market needs, most companies don't have an IT infrastructure that is up to meeting the real-time enterprise challenge, according to a report released today by Unisys Corporation. However, the findings point to several key strategic and technical capabilities seen as essential to building a real-time organization over the next three to five years.

The report, entitled “The Agile Corporation: How Real? How Achievable?,” is based on a global survey of more than 350 C-level business executives, senior IT executives and industry analysts, commissioned by Unisys and conducted by ICR, an independent research firm. The report reveals that spending on the development and deployment of new business applications –a key indicator of a company's strategic focus – now represents 39 percent of the total IT budget. Over the next three years, spending in this area will increase by 28 percent.

This high level of investment probably reflects the fact that only 12 percent of the companies surveyed are "highly satisfied" with their current application development environment. Approximately half are "just satisfied." Meanwhile, two out of every five companies expressed some level of dissatisfaction, the report finds.

The results were similarly discouraging when IT executives were asked to rate their own operations using a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being extremely poor and 10 being extremely good. Here, they rated their operations according to the three standards below, each seen as key to enabling corporate agility:

  • Bringing products and services to market quickly: 6.5
  • Incorporating new technological innovation and solutions: 6.5
  • Facilitating connectivity between business units and with business partners: 6.4
Among the business requirements of an agile corporation that a majority of the C-level executives interviewed saw as "definitely" or "probably" evolving were:
  • Connecting information flows in order to predict threats and anticipate continual change (26 percent said "definitely," 43 percent " probably").
  • Investing in systems that can see patterns – and the underlying opportunities in those patterns – to strengthen executive decision- making and strategy formation (22 percent said "definitely," 40 percent "probably").
  • Flexible and rapid modification of business process workflow to create superior customer satisfaction and competitive advantage (36 percent said "definitely," 33 percent "probably").
  • Collaborative workflow management – connecting people across and outside the organization – in order to respond rapidly to change (19 percent said "definitely," 35 percent "probably").
  • IT solutions that support open standards and have sufficient flexibility to minimize obsolescence (36 percent said "definitely," 45 percent said "probably").
  • Managing large enterprise-wide projects by breaking them down into subcomponents that are less complex to build and can be rapidly reassembled into new solutions as conditions change (35 percent said "definitely," 40 percent "probably"). The report is available at http://www.unisys.com/about__unisys/agile_corporation/.

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