Most leaders (88%) say non-technical C-suite members are aware of the bottom-line upside to applications, but tech awareness is uneven among leaders, according to research from cloud computing company Rackspace released Tuesday, which surveyed 1,420 IT decision-makers.
IT decision-makers rank CIOs, CTOs and CEOs as the leaders most aware of the link between technology and the bottom line. By contrast, chief revenue, marketing and operating officers are the least aware of the benefits.
Nearly half of IT decision-makers find customer experience to be a main strategic priority at their organizations, setting it as a more pressing goal than IT security and compliance or overall IT strategy.
Company leadership is sold on the value of customer experience in the organization. But when it comes to connecting the dots between technology and the bottom line, there's room for improvement.
Getting a technologist to sit at the table anytime business discussions are taking place expands tech awareness throughout the C-suite, said Jeff DeVerter, chief technology evangelist at Rackspace Technology. Technologists "can speak to solutions" that address business challenges or opportunities at play, said DeVerter.
IT leaders wary of modernization say the fear of negatively impacting current CX, legacy IT systems and a limited budget are key barriers toward technology adoption. For 42% of companies, months can go by before there's consensus around technology changes, according to the report.
C-suite figures trailing behind others in their awareness of how tech impacts revenue, such as CROs or CFOs, may be viewing technology as an expense instead of an opportunity, said DeVerter.
But a culture rift may also be driving the disconnect happening at the higher levels of company leadership.
While many IT teams have let DevOps and agile thinking influence how they operate, "when you go back and look at more traditional organizations, like a marketing organization or revenue organization, they haven't adopted those mindsets as well," said DeVerter.
The disconnect is playing out amid a broader scarcity of tech-savvy leadership, according to MIT research. Just 7% of large companies have digitally savvy executive teams, with the CIO and CTO similarly ranking atop the C-suite figures with the highest tech clout.