There’s a disconnect between IT priorities and spending — one that could jeopardize your organization’s long-term prospects.

Digital transformation and innovation remain top priorities for CIOs, with the 2020 IT Trends Study from the Society for Information Management (SIM) finding digital transformation and innovation ranked No. 4 and No. 9 respectively among the most important IT management issues.

Yet the same study found that keep-the-lights functions gets the biggest chuck of the typical IT budget, coming in at close to 40 percent of IT spending for both 2019 and 2020. IT-related R&D was seventh on the list.

That leaves IT leaders to determine how best to fund innovation without breaking the bank.

“I don’t think innovation can be serendipitous. You do need some sort of formalized program, whether that’s just a grant process or a way for people to pitch ideas,” says Joseph Tobolski, CTO of the digital consultancy Nerdery. “Ultimately you have to give some legitimacy to innovative ideas and have the ability for people to run with them. You have to foster an environment where you give ideas a hope of succeeding.”