Technology is in a constant state of evolution and with that, comes plenty of opportunity for growth in business. Staying on top of developments, upgrades and security systems is a necessary cost as the ROI is seen in the impact this has on productivity among employees and departments. We asked IT professionals in Australia, the US and UK for their take on the biggest opportunities for growth in 2016.
The report identified a number of important areas where there is work to be done, with missed opportunities affecting how the role of IT professionals is perceived by organizations. In general, the results of the survey suggest that were this scenario to be reversed and IT departments given more power to concentrate on investing for growth, the latest technology could be better utilized, generating increases in productivity and greater value.
This is a big claim, but it is based on the frustrations laid bare in the report. The respondents – a varied group of IT professionals working at small and large organizations in Australia, the US and UK – voiced a number of frustrations, identifying barriers that they said were currently preventing them from implementing effective IT solutions. Among other things, these include more predictable and generic barriers such as a lack of time and resources. But there were also more specific complaints. Chief among these was the fact that 36 per cent of those surveyed said that IT is still seen by their organizations to be a cost as opposed to an opportunity.
What are the effects of this on IT professionals? Part of the answer to this question can be found elsewhere in the report. Here we see the extent to which many IT professionals see themselves as being undervalued by their colleagues and, importantly, by management and executives. This finding can be juxtaposed with others from the report, which show how IT professionals are involved not only in important everyday troubleshooting, but also in more strategically significant areas, which range from the implementation of new systems to facilitating improvements in employee wellbeing and productivity. Either way, the effects are certainly being felt by IT professionals and have a clear impact on the workplace environment.
As well technical knowledge and expertise, many of these responsibilities involve high-level communication skills, with IT departments often playing a key role in mediating between executives and management on the one hand and end-users and employees on the other. Given this level of responsibility, the respondents are perhaps right to be aggrieved when IT is seen by others in their organization as a cost instead of an opportunity.
Beyond questions of morale and value, one practical opportunity to emerge from the report relates to the current imbalance in the workloads of many of the respondents. At present, in spite of the critical importance of IT security and the growth potential of new technology, many IT departments are still geared towards a helpdesk role and run-of-the-mill administration. If the relative importance of these two areas could be reduced, it may allow IT professionals to think more strategically and creatively about how to bring value to their organization.
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Has your businesses discussed the biggest opportunities for growth in 2016? Do you agree with the findings in the Voice of IT Report? Let us know over on LinkedIn.
Continue reading our report summaries here.