Against the backdrop of new technologies and the ever-more demanding requirements of customers and/or employees, IT leaders in companies are constantly faced with new challenges. Raised expectations generally increase the complexity of the IT leader role. Alongside specific IT services, various departments – such as HR and marketing – now also expect custom support. Based on a recent study by Econsultancy and Adobe, which included a survey of more than 500 IT leaders across Europe, we’ve summarized the four greatest challenges that IT leaders face today.
1. Threats posed by gaps in security
Data is one of a company’s most important assets. However, whenever a company stores data, it also runs the risk of that data being exploited for illegal gain – so it’s little wonder that the number-one external threat is the failure of cyber security systems. The study confirms our prediction that cloud security will be one of this year’s major challenges. According to the survey, the challenge posed by this threat is virtually on a par with concerns surrounding the growing customer requirements and expectations that IT leaders are expected to meet.
2. The right mix of skills
Many companies think that their IT department falls short in terms of data provision. The main reason cited for this belief is a lack of qualified specialists within the company. In most cases, companies struggle to find people with the right mix of competencies for the positions they need to fill, resulting in enormous competition between companies in the search for new talent. There are also concerns relating to company culture. IT leaders worry that their companies are perceived as too unproductive, unable to adapt, or too slow to implement changes, which may scare off potential new recruits.
3. Breaking down silos
In the data sector, a silo mentality not only hampers efficient data processing and analysis, but is also detrimental to internal structures. We’ve highlighted the need to break down silos a number of times in the past. But for more than half of the surveyed European IT leaders, outdated organizational structures are still a major issue: The respondents indicated that bureaucratic processes and work silos created internal barriers and lengthened chains of communication. This dissatisfaction affects the mood in the workplace, particularly in larger organizations. For IT leaders, a shared vision pursued across the company is also of great importance. However, all too often, this vision is confined to the background as day-to-day pressures come to the fore. The problem is exacerbated by the employee skill deficit and company culture issues discussed above.
4. Keeping up with the pace of innovation
Today, IT leaders are required to operate in environments that not only require them to apply their IT expertise, but also to provide support to departments such as marketing and sales. In these circumstances, IT leaders are concerned that they won’t always be able to keep pace with the latest innovations and make changes in their own working structures in time to stay ahead. The larger the company, the greater the concerns of the IT leaders. To enable them to keep up with the accelerated pace of innovation, many IT leaders rely on ongoing further training through online advice portals, webinars or professional events.