IT Priorities 2022: Focus on technical debt and cloud measures


The more than 140 enterprise architects surveyed in an international study by LeanIX see the reduction of technical debt at the top of the priority list. […]

The reduction of technical debt and the modernization of legacy systems should have the highest priority for IT in 2022: 41 percent of enterprise architects from international companies agree on this assessment. Cloud migration and the expansion of the cloud infrastructure rank second on the list of priorities with 24 percent, followed by the further development of IT security (16 percent). A closer look at the areas of possible IT investments reveals that 60 percent of companies have not yet completed the cloud migration of the most important applications and this task is therefore at the top of the list of cloud measures for 2022. When asked about initiatives for more IT security, three quarters of enterprise architects emphasize the need to improve risk assessment skills. Just as many of the respondents are striving to expand cooperation with the development teams in the company. On the other hand, there is a clear need to catch up when IT comes to IT sustainability: only half of the companies surveyed are taking steps in this direction. These are some of the core results of the LeanIX EA & IT Strategy Survey 2022 published today.

In December 2021 and January 2022, responsible enterprise architects and IT managers from over 140 companies in the international Leanix customer portfolio were interviewed for this study about their EA and IT strategies for this year. 71 Percent of the study participants come from Europe and another 23 percent from the USA, with the companies studied being spread across different industries.

Whether in Europe or the USA: dealing with technical debt is of great importance for all respondents – this shows not only the top position of the topic on the priority list for 2022, but also the fact that 96 percent of the companies surveyed have at least one measure in this area on the agenda, according to a press release.

Cloud migration of central applications not yet completed

What is the priority of various cloud initiatives in companies? At the top of the list for 2022 is the cloud migration of central applications – which also means that even the migration of the most important applications in companies is by no means complete. More than 40 percent of respondents indicate that increasing the share of SaaS in the portfolio is also a high priority this year. It is almost as important for the respondents to improve the overview and control over cloud spending. It is noteworthy that 51 percent do not consider the support of the SAP S/4HANA transformation to be important, although it is certainly pending in numerous companies. This fits in with a previous study finding that only half of the enterprise architects feel sufficiently involved in this transformation project – their potential as specialists for the software landscape in the company apparently often remains unused.

Technical debt plays a role in several IT areas

Whether it’s cloud migration or the increased use of SaaS applications: the two most important cloud initiatives for 2022 are closely linked to the issue of technical debt. If done correctly, a migration requires the optimization of the respective application for the cloud. Technical debt can get in the way of this optimization, so dealing with it is a necessary part of any successful cloud strategy. Replacing on-premises software or self-developed systems with SaaS applications, on the other hand, is a proven method to reduce this debt.

Technical debts also play an important role in IT security. If their full extent is not known, they represent a central risk for companies. Three quarters of the respondents state that it is particularly important this year to improve risk assessment skills – for which comprehensive transparency is necessary. The high relevance of the topic was once again clearly demonstrated to the companies by the Log4Shell security gap.
It is obvious that the second most important security measure is also characterized by a current topic: the strong increase in remote workplaces due to the pandemic probably contributes to the fact that two-thirds of respondents consider the introduction of more zero trust technologies to be particularly relevant, in which, in contrast to classic network security, every access requires authentication.

Enterprise architects call for close cooperation with developers

Software has now become a competitive factor in almost all industries, so that companies focus on software development in order to be able to provide innovative solutions for customers and internal stakeholders. The enterprise architects are also looking more closely at the development teams: almost three quarters agree that they should establish a closer connection with them and expand cooperation. Just as many respondents consider it important to deal with the business effects of software development, i.e. to measure its business value. In this context, value stream management can play an important role in promoting efficiency in software development with the help of metrics and making the process comprehensible from code to customer. In this way, technical debts are also combated at their possible origin.

Only half of the companies are planning measures for IT sustainability

If we talk about the future viability of companies, the question of a sustainability strategy also arises for IT organizations. The present study paints a sobering picture: only 52 percent of the respondents can name concrete projects for more sustainability in IT in 2022. At 45 percent, this share is even lower in the USA than in Europe (54 percent). If any measures are planned at all, IT primarily prepares reports (61 percent), collects and evaluates data (48 percent) and checks the sustainability of providers (42 percent). However, none of the companies surveyed are taking concrete measures to reduce their own CO2 footprint.

IT managers must set several priorities at the same time

The results of the Leanix EA & IT Strategy Survey make it clear that IT organizations today have to be active at different points at the same time and face a variety of challenges. What connects all these efforts is innovation. Innovation is necessary to survive in the competition, to prevail and to be successful in the future. The ability to innovate requires overcoming technical debts, optimizing cloud use and supporting continuous software development. This requires transparency and the management of risks. And finally, companies should not only redesign their business models so that they are agile and resilient, but also sustainable.

The key to this is a reliable source of information about the entire software landscape with all its dependencies. Companies need comprehensive transparency across all areas – from business capabilities to cloud deployment. Such a level of transparency can no longer be achieved with a manual procedure. It is time for IT to exhaust all existing technological solutions for itself. This is the only way to manage the complexity of the existing and future software landscape and successfully implement all strategic measures.

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