Skills shortages in a wide swath of areas, including cloud computing, mobility, security and the IoT, are creating competitive disadvantages.
Navigating today's business and IT landscape is nothing short of daunting. Technologies—and the skills required to operate systems—fly by at rocket speed. At this point, almost every organization has been impacted—if not hamstrung—by critical skills shortages in a wide swath of areas, including software development, cloud computing, mobility, security and the internet of things (IoT).
The situation is approaching red alert. A just released study of technology trends from Capita Technology Solutions and Cisco, Trends vs. Technologies, delivers some interesting insights into the current state of affairs. It found that a significant disconnect exists between recognizing the value of emerging technologies and building a successful business framework with them. The study examined nine key areas, including big data, cloud computing and the IoT.
For example, 90 percent of the respondents believe big data is relevant to their industry, only 64 percent are actually implementing it. Meanwhile, 70 percent of IT decision makers said the IoT is relevant to their business but 71 percent noted that they did not have the skills to identify IoT growth opportunities. Remarkably, 16 percent still don't believe the cloud has any relevance to their industry or business.
Similar gaps exist in other key areas. While 50 percent of the survey respondents believe artificial intelligence is useful and relevant, only 25 percent of organizations are putting it into play. Meanwhile, 39 percent indicated that robotics is a relevant business trend but only 10 percent are actually deploying the technology. In the AI and robotics categories, 80 percent said they lack the required skills to put systems in place.
The report identified several reasons for these obstacles. These include: management pushback (even though 88 percent of decision makers agree that financial gains are possible through the adoption of these technologies); risk aversion (the tendency to take a "wait and see" approach and gauge how things are working out for competitors is an ongoing problem); and a lack of vision, in many cases based on a lack of skills to identify opportunities in the first place.
CIOs can play a key role in transforming their organizations. The report concludes that those that do not address these skill shortages and build the necessary internal expertise to navigate digital technologies will be at a severe competitive disadvantage. It points out that third-party partnerships may be the key, if an organization lacks the internal expertise and skills. "Doing nothing is no longer an option," the report notes.