UK IT directors need product roadmap information

Survey claims the majority of UK IT directors would consider switching suppliers in return for better visibility and influence over product roadmaps.

Some 82% of IT directors in the UK would consider switching suppliers for better visibility and influence over product roadmaps, a survey has revealed.

Lack of visibility makes it difficult to plan effectively in the face of rising demands for support from the business, according to the survey by the UK & Ireland SAP User Group.

Many respondents (83%) called for better foresight to make more informed decisions about future updates to hardware and software.

"It can be very frustrating for IT departments when they can't plan ahead effectively," said Craig Dale, chief executive of the UK & Ireland SAP User Group.

"At a time when budgets are increasingly tight, IT departments need to be able to make sure they are fully maximising their IT investments. It is understandable that organisations can become frustrated when IT vendors aren't very forthcoming when it comes to sharing product roadmap information," he said.

One of the main obstacles for organisations and suppliers to overcome is a lack of communication, particularly after mergers and acquisitions.

The survey found 85% of IT directors were frustrated by suppliers being slow to communicate roadmap information.

Respondents said the lack of information sometimes forced organisations to find alternatives to meet their needs.

This can leave organisations frustrated when suppliers update products a few months later with the functionality they needed, with 68% of respondents admitting they had wasted time and money on customising products.

Three-quarters of IT directors said they would like to speak with suppliers at an earlier stage in the product development process.

"Many organisations have turned to user groups for the opportunity to influence product roadmaps and give them greater access to their IT vendors," said Dale.

"This is not only beneficial to the end users, but also to the vendors who can use this to better engage with customers and get feedback earlier on in the product development process," he said.

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