by Adam Thilthorpe

What digital leaders predict – 2014 and beyond

Jan 09, 20143 mins
IT Strategy

Only 10% of digital leaders feel that their organisation has enough resources to address the management issues and IT trends that their company has prioritised – according to our annual digital leaders survey – yet what they have been asked to do is critical to the success of the organisation.

This situation should ring alarm bells for both the IT industry as well as the wider economy. New technology is dramatically changing the way that businesses operate. New innovations and ways of working require new skills from the profession. In order for the UK to remain competitive in the global marketplace – we need to generate growth, but this can’t be done without a suitably qualified workforce – and failure to address this shortage could prove disastrous for the economy.

For a project to be successful – it is critical to have to have the right people in place. However, the survey reveals that there are concerns over the shortage of suitably qualified staff available. This indicates that, although digitals leaders may have high levels of responsibility within an organisation, they don’t always have the necessary resources to achieve what they have been tasked with.

More than half of the 326 digital leaders surveyed (57%) indicated that they need enhanced IT skills among their existing workforce, 48% require additional IT staff that are suitably qualified, and 37% would like a bigger budget.

The survey – which took place between September 13 October 14 last year – also reveals that business change is high on the agenda for 2014. Digital leaders were asked what they considered to be their organisation’s top three management issues over the next 12 months. 64% rate business transformation and organisational change as a priority, followed by strategy and planning (49%) and operational efficiencies (47%).

Given that effective use of IT is now a major driving force behind business performance – it is hardly surprising that these issues are highlighted in the survey. Improving productivity is vital to the success of any company and digital leaders and their team are central to the organisation, helping to increase efficiency and maximise competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Respondents were also asked what they consider to be their organisation’s top three IT topics or trends for the next 12 months. Some 57% selected mobile computing, followed closely by information security (53%) and cloud computing (49%). More organisations are realising that such technological developments can potentially benefit their business, help increase productivity and ensure business continuity. Yet while they can bring operational cost savings and employee satisfaction, it can mean increased headaches for information security professionals.

Looking further ahead, digital leaders believe information security (55%), cloud computing (48%) and big data (47%) will be the top three priorities for their organisations over the next three to five years.

We are now fully immersed in the fifth wave of computing, and phrases such as BYOD and cloud computing are commonplace. The attributes needed to drive a business forward are constantly evolving so businesses need to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to changes in technology and workflow. A good digital leader will be considering what the next wave of computing will hold and how it will affect their organisation. With each technological advance comes a need for different and more diverse skills which will also influence how digital leaders recruit and develop their team.

Digital leaders are being tasked with high level responsibilities that can shape a whole organisation, so it is vital that their teams are equipped with the right tools to achieve their goals and compete on a global scale.