IT challenges vary between different organisations and are ever-evolving as new technology is developed creating new issues and impacting on existing technologies. However, there are a few constants that most CIOs and IT directors face. While they may give you a headache, at least you know you’re not alone in facing them and that solutions are being sought to address them.
Below are the five biggest issues I believe we’re facing in IT today, if you have other challenges you would like to share – let me know!
5 IT challenges and how to deal with them
#1: Skills gap
The much talked about skills gap has made recruitment challenging for many IT departments. Although, according to a 2017 report, computer science is the fastest-growing subject for undergraduates with a 4% increase on the previous academic year; not enough graduates are entering the market.
It is therefore important to be creative in the way you recruit IT professionals, including addressing the skills gap from other angles like IT outsourcing. UKN Group CIO, Mark Watson, has recently shared his thoughts on the IT skills shortage with some ideas for shoring up your talent pipeline. Read his article here.
#2: New, and unknown, security threats
These IT problems aren't going to go away any time soon, and is inevitably exacerbated as new technology is developed. Next gen technology like IoT and AI could present new opportunities for hackers and cyber criminals, increasing risk for organisations that want to enjoy the benefits of this technology.
Vigilance is key. Organisations need to ensure that they have detection and protection systems in place, before introducing new technologies, and that training and security awareness initiatives are part of those defences to ensure that any cybersecurity issues are prevented.
#3: Data protection
GDPR is an ongoing challenge for many organisations, and Brexit will not change that. Citrix polled UK businesses in November (6 months after the implementation of GDPR) and found that many organisations were still struggling with data sprawl, the volume of personal customer information and uncertainty around data ownership.
Its poll also found that “the average large UK business was reliant on 24 systems to manage and store personal data, with one in five (21%) using over 40 systems to do so. Tackling such data sprawl wasn't easy then and won't be now if still the case."
In recent months the ICO has penalised some organisations for breaching GDPR, although not the much scare mongered maximum fines we were all talking about last year. However, public awareness around data protection is still high, in fact the average person probably has a much greater understanding of GDPR than they ever did of the Data Protection Act, so organisations cannot afford to be non-compliant.
Fortunately, data protection and IT professionals now have extensive experience of implementing GDPR regulations in all kinds of businesses and organisations, so putting in place a GDPR compliance strategy is not as difficult as it was previously.
#4: Digital transformation
A successful cloud migration is still elusive to some companies and organisations. However, as competitors attain digital transformation, few companies can remain competitive without exploring the cloud.
Instead of being forced to implement digital transformation because the business is losing ground, it is helpful to start by thinking about how digital transformation can help the organisation achieve more strategic goals. Can it make the organisation more competitive? Can it facilitate expansion and business growth? By aligning transformation with business goals, it becomes easier to get buy-in from senior stakeholders and support for transformation projects, therefore increasing the likelihood of a successful cloud migration.
You may find this article exploring the key factors that should be in place for a successful digital transformation project a useful starting point.
#5: IT Budget cuts
Hands up who expects to see an increase in their IT budget in the next financial year? IT budgets have been stagnating across many industries and in some cases, IT departments are facing cuts. At the very least, IT Directors are under pressure to achieve more for the same or for a modest increase; at the worst, cuts can result in an increased security risk, more downtime, productivity losses, and affect competitiveness and the bottom line.
Cloud computing and IT outsourcing can both save money and help IT budgets to go further. For advice on reducing costs read this blog post that explores the subject in more detail.
For more insights into how to reduce IT challenges and align IT with business goals and strategic activities, download our 5 IT strategies for business success.
5 IT Strategies for Business Success
Information Technology (IT) has revolutionised the lives of individuals and organisations. Innovation in this sphere has created business opportunities that did not exist five, ten or twenty years ago, both in the way companies operate as well as the services and products they sell.