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Mimecast: Rate of Business Change Leaves IT Struggling to Keep up

August 2009 by Mimecast

IT managers are struggling to keep up with the changes in the business environment according to an independent survey, commissioned by Mimecast®, email management specialist offering SaaS-based email archiving, continuity, security and policy control. Half of those surveyed said they were concerned that they did not have the resources to be able to align IT strategy to fully support changes within the business.

The research, conducted in the UK among 250 IT managers by market research company emedia, revealed that 48% of IT managers dedicate the majority of their time managing existing systems and technology instead of directing IT strategy and policy. At present 98% of IT managers said that allocation of resources was dedicated to maintaining existing systems (33%), the purchase of new systems (17%) and staffing costs (48%), with only a small percentage (2%) dedicating a significant amount of resource to the high value tasks of setting strategy and managing corporate process.

“IT managers are facing a real crisis at the moment,” said Peter Bauer, CEO and Co-founder, Mimecast. “Not only are budgets and head count frozen but they are having to deliver greater business value and manage significant organisational change as a result of the economic environment. This in effect is the perfect storm. IT managers actually need more time than ever before to focus on ensuring IT strategy is aligned with the business. Investment in technologies that free up resources, such as cloud computing, can remove some of the head-ache.”

The results also revealed that the situation is likely to get worse before it gets better. 87% of IT managers said they are facing a decreasing or static IT headcount with a further 77% facing a similar situation with their budget.

The research looked specifically at email management as an example of where IT managers are faced with a mountain of additional maintenance caused by changes in the regulatory environment. Currently 67% of IT managers maintain in-house email systems. As legislation such as the BSI Code of Practice or Freedom of Information Act enforcing email-as-evidence has already come into effect, companies need the ability to up-scale storage capacity to ensure emails can be searched as far back as fifteen years. They need immediate search and ediscovery functionality to recover them quickly if needed. Currently most IT managers (57%) spend less than 10% of their budget on email technologies and the rest spend up to 30%.

The issue of email archiving and e-discovery doesn’t just affect the private sector. Legislation currently going through parliament will add to the current Data Protection Act by giving the Information Commissioner the power to perform spot checks on public sector organisations to ensure their records management systems are up to scratch. This together with the HMG Security Policy Framework (sets in place the requirement for a comprehensive data handling system across all public sector bodies) means that both central and local governments will have to get much better at retaining and managing information held within emails.

Bauer added, “Email has become more than just a communication tool it is a transaction mechanism and a supporting technology for enterprise workflow. Both businesses and organisations within the public sector need to start investing more heavily in this area in order to safeguard their information and future success of the business.”

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