Chef, IT automation for speed and awesomeness, today announced the publication of an October 2013 commissioned study that evaluates the state of automation and its impact on the speed and quality of service delivery in enterprise IT.

Conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Chef, and based on an in-depth survey with 155 senior IT professionals from Fortune 1000 companies, the study – "IT Speed: The Crisis and the Savior of the Enterprise" – found that enterprise IT is too slow for business today, although hope is within reach. The study is available for download here.

Indeed, business leaders are driving the speed of execution and adaptation to astonishing levels because customers now demand this kind of performance. At the same time, competitors are fueling an escalating "innovation arms race" to deliver the value and speed customers require.

Forrester's research for Chef shows how IT – the enabler of this acceleration – simply cannot maintain the same pace.

While 36 percent of the enterprise IT leaders in the Forrester survey highlighted faster delivery of IT services as their top priority, and a full 58 percent placed it in the top three priorities, only 17 percent say they can deliver fast enough. Furthermore, only 12 percent say they can do so with high quality.

The bottom line is that demand has irreversibly exceeded the capacity of traditional IT.

"The commercial world is under siege, thanks to the breathtaking speed that's required to meet 24×7 demand from digitally empowered customers on each and every continent," explains Adam Jacob, Chef's Co-Founder and Chief Dev Officer. "This relentless digital demand means that companies have to re-build and re-design their businesses so they can make an endless series of daily technology changes to keep up with customers and deliver dynamic, high-quality customer service on a consistent basis. Only the continuous delivery of code can make this a reality."

Continues Jacob: "The key lessons from our survey tell us that even if you have a brilliant collection of people, you can't meet the accelerating demands without assistance. You need to properly apply automation technologies and the related process refinements. A future vision of IT without extreme automation is a myth. The pressures are just too intense, and they're not going to let up."

Forrester's study for Chef yielded four key findings:

IT must act fast to accelerate execution. Survival of the entire enterprise depends on executing and adapting at high speed. Leaders express intense urgency for IT to rapidly achieve this goal, however data shows IT is woefully sluggish today. The window to adapt is short. Companies must act quickly and aggressively on automation, processes and people.
Inability to change is a pervasive affliction needing a quick cure. Arguably, the biggest problem with IT is the slow and flawed execution of changes. Change management process refinement tried to fix these issues, but these efforts have not been fruitful. Manual execution remains and process discipline is overbearing. Companies must remove the roadblocks and as much manual effort as possible. Change can be simultaneously quick and trustworthy.
Automation is a solution; implementation is nascent but accelerating. IT automation tools platforms are popular. But the attention is now shifting to more comprehensive process automation and applications, manifest in the exciting new DevOps movement. Companies need to act now on a pragmatic plan to automate every function they can.
Entrenched behaviors are hampering the ability of IT to accelerate its speed of delivery. Technology solutions are now profoundly valuable, but they are useless unless people are prepared to exploit their capabilities. Behavioral inertia causes IT practices to change too slowly. Companies must inspire IT staff to change behaviors with a concerted effort that embraces automation and the new skills that this automated world requires.