Are you less capable of innovation or more vulnerable to threats than you thought?

A Syntax research shows a critical reality check on perception versus reality among IT and finance decision-makers when it comes to enterprise innovation, whether it is focused on security, cloud, or advanced applications like artificial intelligence (AI) and automation.

IT leaders innovation

“As we stand at an inflection point in the way the world does business, enterprises have more opportunities than they think to get ahead of the competition and continue improving,” said Mike Rulf, CTO of Americas at Syntax. “An honest assessment of capabilities now will only accelerate innovation in the future.”

Today’s business landscape continues to shift as hybrid work moves into a more permanent position, emerging technologies require skilled workers, and cyberattacks continue to climb. IT leaders who overestimate their capabilities find themselves at risk of missing out on critical innovation. Syntax surveyed 500 U.S.-based senior management leaders managing at least $500M in revenue to assess where their technology and business analytics capabilities fall on a spectrum.

Innovation capabilities overconfidence creating risk

IT leaders overinflate their innovation capabilities. While many executives ranked themselves on the leading edge — among the top 5% of businesses in each category — their actual capabilities and attitudes reflected a much different picture. AI and analytics projects, for example, caused companies the most significant financial losses over the last year.

Enterprises lag in adopting automation, with the majority reporting less than 50% of their processes are currently automated. Low-code and no-code tools are still absent from 48% of enterprises. Additionally, automation investments are seeing the lowest returns, with only 42% of enterprises reporting positive return on investment (ROI) — signaling challenges in finding the right talent to implement these technologies.

Talent shortages are slowing digital transformation timelines, with 45% of respondents noting they don’t have the talent to migrate to a public cloud. Diving deeper into emerging technologies, only 36% of companies think they have the staff to implement AI automation. Only 19% of respondents said getting leadership approval was a barrier to adopting automation — the most significant challenges are lack of talent and technology.

49% of respondents said they would be unable to mitigate a data breach or ransomware attack successfully. Respondents indicated they were most prepared to handle a phishing attack (60% said they were extremely prepared). However, phishing was the most common type of attack reported in 2021. When it comes to securing the hybrid workplace, 43% of respondents said they are only somewhat confident their company can keep them safe from cyberattacks.

In 2022, 44% of companies say they will make a significant investment in building business intelligence capabilities. Cloud migration and improving cybersecurity tied for first in the areas enterprises say they will “significantly” invest in 2022. In many cases, finance respondents reported lower ROI on specific projects — including AI efforts and cloud spending — than their IT counterparts.

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