Emerging technologies lag in criticality while key skills remain a barrier
TEKsystems released the results of its 2018 Forecast Reality Check. The survey is designed to measure the current impact of market conditions on IT initiatives, hiring, salaries and skill needs.
The survey reflects the perceptions of nearly 250 IT leaders (CIOs, IT VPs, IT directors, IT managers) in industries including IT, healthcare, manufacturing and banking/finance, as well as more than a dozen other industries across the United States.
TEKsystems believes it is logical that a high percentage of respondents identified enabling technology (such as security, cloud and big data/analytics) as critical for driving business strategy for the remainder of 2018. These areas are also key to spurring digital transformation efforts. While AI, IoT and blockchain have the potential to transform how business is run, many of these business-driven initiatives centered around next-gen technologies are still in the planning or early phases of adoption.
This clarifies that companies are still in the process of creating strong foundation for scale through three key pillars: cloud, data and security. As such, these technologies are not considered critical for driving business strategy for the second half of the year, or until enterprise IT can demonstrate that a secure, stable, scalable environment is in place to deliver these services. The relatively high percentage of organizations focusing on DevOps and cloud computing initiatives provides further clarity that IT organizations are taking transformative steps to meet the agility and velocity demands of their business partners.
Lack of skills/expertise a barrier to successfully executing on key technology initiatives
Having the right skills/competencies and working through resource management issues (e.g., budgets) are to be expected for those organizations with a consistent goal of maximizing technology’s impact. Enterprise IT must be agile and flexible enough to deliver on digital transformation goals focused on speed to market for critical consumer-facing applications.
The most significant challenge facing IT organizations today is their ability to is to maintain legacy IT systems and services (technical debt) while still attempting to deliver next generation, scalable technology solutions.
IT budgets and salaries
TEKsystems believes that despite an increase in the number of enterprise IT teams expecting budget cuts in 2018, organizations are not necessarily decreasing technology spending. It’s more likely that budget previously going to enterprise IT is now being earmarked for line-of-business (LOB) decision makers who now have budget for IT projects that incorporate emerging technologies into their operations.
The percentage of those indicating that they expect budgets to increase in 2018 has not changed—another indication that technology budgets are stabilizing. Apart from specialized skill sets, IT salary expectations continue to remain stagnant, which can hinder an organization’s ability to attract talent.
Waning confidence that enterprise IT can deliver on new initiatives
Generally speaking, levels of confidence for core IT and line-of-business demands remain steady, one to two percent shifts notwithstanding. Enterprise IT seems to have settled into a pattern of focusing on actionable items regarding established technology that supports ongoing digital transformation efforts.
As the business works through the desired goals and outcomes regarding newer, emerging technology and its impact, enterprise IT will shift to developing, refining and implementing those technology solutions while at the same time continuing to manage legacy platforms and services. Interestingly, when it comes to new initiatives, there is a three percent increase in those indicating a lack of confidence in enterprise IT’s ability to satisfy and support those initiatives. This is perhaps further proof of the challenges facing IT as it juggles the management of business-driven initiatives focused on digital transformation efforts, legacy systems and the always-present need for high levels of enterprise security.