In late 2018, TEKsystems, a provider of IT services, surveyed IT leaders across every major industry on a range of key issues, like budgets, staffing needs, and organizational challenges facing them in 2019. The survey respondents include chief information officers, IT vice presidents, IT directors and IT hiring managers. Below, we’ll cover whether IT departments are ready to support digital business transformation.
More Money Will Be Allocated to IT
As IT departments become more focused on creating a strong base for the launch of new initiatives and emerging technologies, IT budgets are expected to increase. Almost two-thirds of the IT leaders surveyed expected to increase IT spend in 2019. This may be due to a decrease in line-of-business purchase decisions, and consolidation of purchases under the IT umbrella.
Can IT Meet Organizational Needs in 2019?
Perhaps due to increased budgets, IT leaders feel confident they can meet the needs of their organizations in core IT activities, line of business needs and new initiatives. Of course, maintenance of existing systems and infrastructures ranked highest in confidence levels. Supporting new initiatives showed the lowest confidence, but overall was still quite high at 64%. The key factors for assessing the ability to support new initiatives included existing staff competencies, how quickly staff can be trained on new skills, and the possibility of hiring outside resources.
What Are the Top Objectives and Challenges?
The top three business objectives IT leaders identified as requiring support from IT are not surprising. At number three is “creating new products and services,” with 29%, number two is “implementing new IT applications and infrastructure” at 33%, and number one is “improving existing IT applications and infrastructure” at 37%. So basically, IT teams are focused on making the most of existing applications while implementing new ones and supporting innovation.
IT leaders were also asked what the top challenges are to meeting the goals they identified. The top concerns included how well the IT and business staff align, sharing knowledge and understanding each other’s goals, and making sure IT staff has the right skills to be effective and to communicate with the business staff, using the same language to ensure business staff understand the necessary technology concepts.
|Q: What will provide the biggest challenge to your organization meeting its goals and objectives?|
|2018 (Previous Rank)||2019|
|Organizational alignment: how well the IT and business staff understand each other, do they connect/interact easily, frequently and efficiently (e.g., knowledge sharing, understanding of goals, etc.)||33% (1)||29%|
|Governance: IT projects flow from an understanding of the business strategy, support business strategy, with resources and budgets allocated and prioritized appropriately||17% (3)||20%|
|Skills: the staff has the skills needed to be effective, understands business drivers and can speak the language of the business, business staff understands relevant technology concepts (e.g., innovation, training, leadership, etc.)||20% (2)||20%|
|Scope & architecture: IT has evolved past merely business support, helping the business grow, compete and profit (e.g., IT is well integrated within the company, flexibility/agility to respond to changing business needs)||9% (5)||13%|
|Competency / value measurements: how well does the company measure its own performance and value of projects (e.g., IT metrics, contributions to revenue/profitability measured/tracked, project post-mortems, etc.)||12% (4)||11%|
|Partnerships (e.g., managing perceptions, sharing goals/risks/rewards, seat at the table, etc.)||7% (6)||5%|
Courtesy of TEKsystems
Can Siloes Be Torn Down?
From these responses, it’s clear that IT has confidence in supporting the technical aspect of digital business transformation efforts, but there are also concerns about cross-functional communications holding back technological progress and innovation. Other surveys from Harvard Business Review and IDG confirm that worldwide, digital business transformation efforts are stymied by siloed organizational structure. As we wrote about in a previous post, digital transformation must be a priority across the organization. CEOs must build a culture that can handle change and empower teams to react to changes in the market in an agile way in order to thrive.