Most IT executives say that their company is in the middle of the pack when it comes to adopting technology, and that they wait for other companies to take the plunge before making an investment.

According to a new study by Toronto-based staffing services firm Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group, released on Thursday, IT’s counterparts on the creative-side of the business (marketing and ad execs) perceive their business to be even more risk-averse. Forty-seven percent of creative executives described their company’s approach to adopting new technology to be slow and steady, compared to 14 percent of IT executives that said the same.

The responses highlight the divide between IT and creative execs, which typically is one of the drivers behind shadow IT. Creative executives who think IT isn’t moving fast enough to implement new technologies may find their own solutions through unapproved SaaS apps. 

IT executives and creative executives were also in disagreement on how important they feel it is for leaders in their respective departments to be early adopters of emerging technologies.  According to the study, 30 percent of creative executives said it is very important, while 13 percent of IT executives said the same. The majority of IT executives surveyed (84 percent) said that it is somewhat important, versus 45 percent of creative executives who shared that same view.

"Companies are often drawn to new technology to help find efficiencies and improve business processes," Deborah Bottineau, senior regional manager of Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group said in a statement. "But deciding which tools to invest in can be overwhelming given the wide variety of ever-evolving options."

"While organizations must keep up with emerging technology trends to stay competitive, they must also have the right people in place to capitalize on them," Bottineau said. "Hiring professionals who can help select and implement new systems, oversee employee training and ensure productivity stays on track is crucial in today's digitally-focused world."

As companies move forward in the digital transformation, how innovative their customers – and their employees – view them will be important.

The study includes responses from more than 270 Canadian CIOs and 400 U.S. marketing and advertising executives. The survey was conducted by an independent research firm on behalf of Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group.