Amidst ever-evolving technologies and the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s essential that Business Technology (BT) professionals move beyond complacency and create new ways to better serve their organizations. In order for this innovation to occur, leaders must set the stage for developments across the business. To help explore avenues for innovation, a roundtable of CIOs including GitLab’s Bryan Wise, E.L.F. Beauty’s Ekta Chopra,’s Eric Johnson, and Workato’s Carter Busse take a deep dive into Systematic’s 2021 State of Business Technology Report, highlighting trends, opportunities, and more.

Increased budgets

According to this year’s State of Business Technology report, 65% of respondents have seen an increase in BT budgets as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eric Johnson explains that as businesses move toward a remote working environment, the need for collaboration and connection among employees becomes increasingly necessary, as does the demand for increased cybersecurity measures, all of which fall under the purview of BT teams. Johnson stresses, however, that increased budgets always carry an opportunity for “spring cleaning”— reviewing, consolidating, and reinvesting in different aspects of your portfolio.

Moving beyond frustrations

Despite increased budgets and demand, many BT leaders are facing a number of frustrations in meeting their goals. According to the report, the biggest challenge is the speed with which BT can deliver to the various lines of business across the company, followed by available integration and automation tools as well as budget constraints. Ekta Chopra highlights the importance of “bucketing” in mitigating these frustrations: Your company should split its time between operations focused on “keeping the lights on” (meaning day-to-day tasks essential to business operation), consolidation and reinvestment of existing portfolio, and making time for testing new technologies, innovations, and processes in order to reach beyond what you have today. At E.L.F Beauty, Chopra accomplishes this through biweekly town halls with built-in time for digital updates and feedback from employees and partners.

Democratization of automation

The State of Business Technology report highlights that 78% of business technology respondents are now comfortable with letting business users build their own automations, integrations, and systems processes. According to Bryan Wise, this is a strong indication of the direction that BT leaders need to move—towards further enabling business users to problem solve using automation. While BT will always be responsible for overall governance and application architecture, marketing, sales, customer success, and finance are closest to the solutions they’re looking for. By empowering them to achieve the solutions they need, they can iterate more quickly, increase their teams’ efficiency levels, and communicate more seamlessly. 

Business Technology is an increasingly ripe arena for innovation, but companies have to set themselves up to properly capitalize on these opportunities. This can be achieved through careful consideration, consolidation, and reinvestment of increased budgets; the creation of various “buckets” of focus in order to maintain existing operations while making space for new opportunities; and empowering business users to customize their automations and integrations in order to more rapidly achieve their goals. 

​​You can learn more about the innovation opportunities facing business tech today by watching the full session here.

Justin Kamp
About Justin Kamp

Justin is a freelance writer who primarily covers the intersection of art and technology.