A new study from Qualtrics XM Institute reveals tech leaders’ thoughts on budgets, customer growth, employee satisfaction and innovation.
In today’s challenging and unpredictable macro environment, IT leaders are under pressure to improve operational efficiency and better manage data. The pressure is so great that many tech leaders are focusing significantly more on those two areas than on growing customers or driving innovation, according to one new study from the Qualtrics XM Institute.
In fact, 60% of IT leaders said improving operational efficiency in their IT organization is a “critical area of focus.” Only 39% said customer growth and retention is a critical area of focus, and 43% said driving innovation is key.
IT leaders also see improving data management as an important area of focus. Half of respondents identified “improving data quality and management” as a key area of focus. It is a top three focus areas for IT leaders in Brazil, France, Germany, UK and US
Meanwhile, only 23% of respondents said preparing for an economic downturn is a critical area of focus.
SEE: Data Management Best Practices for Your Organization (TechRepublic)
Correlation between employee satisfaction and engagement
Qualtrics research showed that IT can be a key driver of employee engagement, but less than half of IT leaders said employee satisfaction is a critical area of focus.
Employees who said their technology enables productivity are 158% more engaged and 61% more likely to stay longer than three years, compared to those who don’t another study from Qualtrics from earlier this year.
Companies with above-average revenue growth relative to their competitors were significantly more focused (50% versus 42%) on employee satisfaction, Qualtrics’ October 2022 report found.
Increasing IT budgets correlate with revenue growth
Interestingly, even with budget cuts, the survey found that IT leaders around the world expect their budgets to increase as they work to help businesses be better prepared for the unknown. Companies with high revenue growth relative to their competitors were 16% more likely to focus on the unexpected.
Most IT leaders expect their IT budget to increase compared to the past year, and only 2% expect their budget to fall, the report said. Sixty-five percent of respondents expect their IT staff to increase, and only 3% expect their IT team to shrink.
Critical Focus Areas for IT Leadership Through Revenue Growth
Not surprisingly, the survey found that organizations with, at or below average revenue growth are more likely to say “reducing operational costs across the business” is a critical area of focus than organizations with above-average revenue growth.
And organizations with above-average revenue growth are likely to cite “improving IT operational efficiency” (63%) and “improving data quality and management” (53%) as critical areas of IT leadership, according to the report.
Overall, the top five focus areas for IT leadership in the coming year are:
- Improving operational efficiency within IT
- Improve data quality and management
- Improving employee satisfaction with IT platforms and operations
- Consolidate IT platforms and systems
- Driving innovation across the organization
The need for speed and adaptability
Agility is another area of focus, with 89% of respondents saying it is “extremely” or “very important” for their organization to be more responsive to unexpected events. More than 70% of respondents said their organization needs to make “significant” or “moderate” changes to their products and services, customer interactions, brand messaging, and interactions with employees.
SEE: Data literacy: Time to cure data phobia (TechRepublic)
Respondents were also asked to what extent they think their company will have to implement environmental changes in the coming years. Forty-two percent said it’s “significantly” important to customize the products and services they offer, while 40% said it’s “significantly” important to change the way they interact with customers.
Improving experiences and building XM capabilities are also important
More than 80% of respondents said it’s important to their business to improve the experience they deliver across each experience area. More than half of respondents say it is very important for their organization to improve their customer experience.
Mexican and Australian respondents at 93% most likely say it is important to improve XM, or experience management, capabilities in the coming years.
Japanese respondents are least likely to say it is important to improve XM capabilities (75%). Among US respondents, improving XM is most often “somewhat important,” at 7%, according to the report.
IT is highly engaged: 39% said their IT organization will be “very significantly” involved in helping their overall business improve experience management capabilities over the next two years, while 40% said IT will be “significantly” engaged .
Looking ahead, respondents are somewhat more likely to agree that XM will be an important skill for IT organizations in the future than to say that XM will play an important role in their professional success.
The main obstacles to the company’s XM efforts are “lack of clear strategy” (32%), “tech constraints” (30%) and “lack of critical skills” (30%).
Details about this Qualtrics study
The findings come from a Qualtrics XM Institute survey of 663 senior IT leaders at companies with 1,000 or more employees about their XM efforts in Q2 2022 in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States.