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IT leaders face rising expectations to enable innovation, yet spend most of their time and resources dedicated to supporting core IT demands. The organization, including IT, must understand the gap between expectations and reality in order to navigate becoming a truly transformative, innovative part of the business.
TEKsystems explores IT’s role today and expectations for the future in our 2018 IT Forecast. Each year, we poll IT leaders on their expectations around technology, spending, skill sets and talent needs for the upcoming year.
Eighty-five percent of IT leaders agree their IT organization is expected to enable innovation. Yet, only one-third claim their IT team is a transforming part of the business today. Looking two years into the future, only 41 percent anticipate their IT truly fulfilling the role of driving innovation.
Improving efficiency is still the business objective IT will most need to support in 2018. This aligns with security and Agile/scrum as their most mature technology areas—with at least half of all IT leaders saying these initiatives are in advanced pilot / production stage or are further along and currently maintaining and supporting these areas in their business. While approximately half of IT leaders report that they are not planning on implementing artificial intelligence, augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) and blockchain in 2018, the remaining IT leaders report they are going to start adopting these cutting edge technology areas within the next two years—if they have not begun doing so already.
The majority (44 percent) of IT leaders anticipate their budgets will stay the same in 2018, while 40 percent expect an increase. This follows a biennial trend of budget increases (2015, 2017) and budget stagnation (2016, 2018) that is likely due to the extended timeframe it takes from technology investment to value realization.
While overall budgets may stabilize, more than half (58 percent) of IT leaders expect to increase their staff’s salaries, a 20 percent increase from 2017, indicating the value and impact of having a strong talented team. Yet, with tight budgets and the cost of top IT talent, IT leaders are exploring other ways of accessing the talent they need—spending on staff augmentation and managed/project/SOW services has been steadily growing, increasing by over 10 percent since 2016.
IT leaders name software engineers/developers / DevOps roles as the hardest to fill. Data analytics and security round out the top three most difficult-to-find roles. With more than half of organizations piloting or supporting and maintaining security, big data and cloud computing technologies, it makes sense that these skill sets are in short supply but high in demand.