Time, Money & Talent: IT Departments Stretched Thin


Tug of war

Time and again IT teams express the same 3 concerns: No time, Low budget and a Shortage of talent. Statistical evidence shows these are not isolated concerns but rather a global condition facing technology professionals everywhere.

Spread Thin/Wider Responsibilities
CIOs and their teams have been asked to do more with less since the Great Recession. But now they are being asked to address an even wider range of priorities. Broader responsibilities added to the core IT function impacts time availability and budget.

Each year, the Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey queries over 3,000 CIOs and technology leaders. It is the largest IT leadership survey in the world in terms of number of respondents. In this year’s survey, it is clear that the CIO role and the demands placed on IT teams are broadening. Consider the following:

  • 4/10 CIOs spend at least 1 day per week on tasks unrelated to IT
  • 87% of CIOs spend >20% of their time with non-IT colleagues
  • New board priorities for IT teams: Automation; Counter-terrorism; Artificial Intelligence; Dealing with regulation; Improving agility

However, some things never change! For 10 years straight, survey respondents have placed the following 3 key priorities at the top of the list of what the board wants them to address:

  • Increase operational efficiencies
  • Deliver a stable IT platform
  • Save costs

The upshot is that IT leaders and their departments are being tasked with new, broader responsibilities while expectations continue that they perform core functions as well as ever.

Skills Shortage
New responsibilities and changing technologies require new skills. Unfortunately, IT leaders feel there is a significant shortage of talent that holds back their ability to deliver on board priorities.

Proportion of IT Leaders reporting technology skills shortage

Top areas of skills shortage:

  • Data Analytics
  • Project Management
  • Business analysis

In addition, according to the 2016 Gartner CIO Agenda Report (2,944 CIOs interviewed across 84 countries), “Talent has now been recognized globally as the single biggest issue standing in the way of CIOs achieving their objectives.”

Low Budget
Interestingly, the #2 item identified as the main barrier to success is Funding/Budgets, according to the Gartner CIO Agenda Report.The barrier of limited budget affecting success is further reinforced by the Harvey Nash/KPMG Survey:
Do you believe that your organization has the right resources and funding to drive its innovation agenda? NO

If IT departments had larger budgets they could hire new employees with in-demand skills and also train existing personnel on new technologies. But even if funds were available, would IT teams have sufficient time?

No Time
Closely linked to the lack of funds for training and strategic initiatives is the dearth of time IT staff has to spend on such initiatives.

According to the 2016 IT Staffing Survey by Spiceworks (over 600 technology professionals queried) the average hours worked for full-time IT staff is 52 hours/week (10.4 hours/day). 18% of IT staff work 60 hours/week (12 hours/day). That means getting to work at 7:00am and staying until 7:00pm!

The reason for the long hours is two-fold. The first reason is a matter of understaffing the department:

The second is understaffing the Help Desk. IT departments spend too much of their time putting out fires. This is evidenced by the correlation between the numbers of Help Desk technicians on staff to hours worked. The more Help Desk techs, the more time is freed up for IT staff to think strategically and learn new skills.

The conclusion of the Spiceworks survey stated, “In addition to keeping the lights on, IT departments can also help identify and implement new technology solutions that can help companies become more efficient and save money… But they can’t do this important forward-looking work if they are constantly fighting fires.”

One of the ways IT leaders are addressing the issues of No time, Low Budget and Shortage of talent is to increase outsourcing. Exactly half of CIOs (50 percent) will increase investment in outsourcing this year, up from 46 percent in 2015. The primary reasons CIOs choose to outsource is to free up personal bandwidth and gain access to critical skills. Saving money is a close third.

What are the two main reasons you choose to outsource?

Therefore, the shortages of time, money and skills can be ameliorated with a prudent program of outsourcing, especially functions that are not core to the IT department and its strategy.

Blog contributed by Jason Jones, Principal with Cresa Atlanta. As a member of Cresa’s Mission Critical Solutions team, Jason represents occupiers of data centers and office real estate. Jason can be reached at 404-446-1581 or jjones@cresa.com for any questions.

Organization Type: Business Enterprise
Article Type: Editorials
Industry: Big Data/Mission Critical Services
Focus: General Info
Location: Buckhead

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