20 IT trends that CIOs must be aware of and plan against

A survey of over 1,000 IT senior leaders shows that businesses are reevaluating their IT operating model and doubling down on automation as a result of the resignations across the IT function and widening skills gaps.
Written by Vala Afshar, Contributing Writer

IT Leaders Pulse Report 2022 by MuleSoft Research: 1,000 IT senior leaders said that businesses are reevaluating their IT operating model and doubling down on automation as a result of the resignations across the IT function and widening skills gaps.

Organizations are integrating best-of-breed technologies and empowering business teams with low/no-code tools to create connected experiences, this according to the IT Leaders Pulse Report 2022 by MuleSoft Research which was developed based on interviews with 1,000 senior IT leaders across the globe.  All respondents work at an enterprise organization in the public or private sector with at least 1,000 employees. 

The other key findings in the report included: 1. IT and business functions are creating fusion teams to increase alignment as organizations focus on creating digital experiences that enhance employee wellbeing and improve customer satisfaction and 2.  Leaders are reevaluating their IT operating model and doubling down on automation as a result of the resignations across the IT function and widening skills gaps. 

Here are 20 important findings for all CIOs and technology leaders to consider. 

  1. Experience become increasingly important - Organizations are now realizing the importance of creating positive employee experiences to attract and retain talent after the Great Resignation.  This type of exceptional experience is also expected for customer interactions. Today, 86% of senior IT leaders agree that the experience an organization provides is as important as its products and services. 
  2. Success relies on technology enabled experiences - Roughly four out of five of respondents agree that improved customer-facing and employee technologies are critical for their organization to compete.
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      Employee wellbeing now an investment priority

  4. Employee wellbeing now an investment priority - Over the next 12 months, the majority of respondents plan to invest in improving IT employee wellbeing, ahead of upskilling and increasing team headcount. This includes providing enhanced remote and flexible working capabilities. Nearly 9 out of 10 IT leaders agree that investing in their staff is hugely important. 
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    Where the skills gap exists in IT

  6. Skills gap stretch across IT functions - Skills gaps related to implementation and management of new technologies is not a new issue for IT. However, the Great Resignation has made the problem much worse across a wide spectrum of IT functions. Most notably, three out of five (60%) senior IT leaders say they now have skills gaps within their IT and solutions architecture function, while almost half (45%) see gaps when it comes to cloud and infrastructure management.
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    Addressing the skills gap in IT with automation

  8. IT leaders are addressing the skills gap with automation - Many senior IT leaders are turning to automation and self-serve initiatives to address the growing skills gap. Across industries, 58% of organizations are tackling this by automating tasks and processes, while 53% are empowering non-technical employees to meet their own needs. Other strategies include outsourcing IT functions and reskilling existing employees.
  9. Technology choices driven by talent acquisition challenges - Nearly three quarters (73%) of senior IT leaders agree that acquiring IT talent has never been harder. As a result, the challenge of talent acquisition now influences technology choices for 98% of organizations. and reskilling existing employees. IT leaders are also widening the recruitment criteria.  Today, 80% of senior IT leaders are seeking developer talent from non-traditional backgrounds and focusing on upskilling and reskilling workers. At the same time, 86% of senior IT leaders agree that business acumen is an important skill for technical talent. In addition 86% of senior IT leaders recognize that they must improve their training and development resources to properly upskill and reskill employees in other areas or as an incentive to attract new talent.
  10. Improved collaborative processes needed between IT and business teams - IT is no longer just a technology enabler; IT now solves business-critical problems, tackles major business objectives, and helps develop competitive advantages with technology. This shift requires IT and business teams to work in closer collaboration for strategic objectives. However, 98% of IT leaders said that working processes between IT and business teams could be improved.
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     Where IT processes need to improve to support innovation

  12. Process improvements are a key priority for IT leaders - Forty-six percent of senior IT leaders say making process improvements is a major priority for their organization over the next 12 months — with many reporting that their existing processes are hindering progress. This push to improved processes is particularly prevalent in the communications, media, and technology (CMT) industry (60%), as well as the public sector (52%).
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    Where IT processes are hindering the organization:

  14. Existing IT processes block productivity and transformation -  Nine out of ten (91%) senior IT leaders say that existing IT processes are blocking their team's productivity. Process challenges are also hindering innovation, technology adoption, and customer and employee experiences. Add new software to existing legacy processes will not lead to transformation. Digital transformation is about redesigning new processes based on the needs of all stakeholders - employees, customers, partners and communities that you serve. 
  15. Fusion teams bridge alignment and drive success - To address process challenges, senior IT leaders are looking to create fusion teams. These are multi-disciplinary teams that blend workers with technology, analytics, or domain expertise and who share responsibility for business and technology outcomes. Already 69% of organizations have created or are in the process of rolling out fusion teams, and an additional 22% plan to do so within the next 12 months. Of organizations with fusion teams already in place, 63% of IT leaders say these teams have helped the business meet its goals.
  16. New software requires custom implementation processes - Implementing new software allows organizations to evaluate their existing processes and standardize them. However, 75% of organizations require customized processes when adopting new software to meet their business requirements.
  17. IT is leaning in to existing investments, rather than buying new technology - Most IT leaders (72%) prefer to update or upgrade existing solutions wherever possible, rather than replacing them. With growing economic headwinds, many organizations are looking to extract further value from their existing infrastructure instead of making investments in brand new technology.
  18. Integration projects take too long and cost too much - In order to create connected experiences, organizations need integration. Two-thirds (66%) of IT leaders believe data or system integration projects take too long and 69% of them say they are too expensive. At the same time, 68% of senior IT leaders recognize that a lack of data or system integration creates a disconnected customer experience, which damages customer loyalty and retention. Most (98%) of senior IT leaders say that new technology investments are influenced by a tool's ability to integrate with existing technology. While roughly 90% say that the decision to build or buy is influenced by integration concerns.
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    Current IT strategies for low/no-code tools

  20. Low/no-code tools play a key role in accelerating digital transformation and in IT strategy -  Faced with a lack of coding talent, many senior IT leaders are turning to low/no-code tools to enable business users to build and test new experiences. Almost all organizations (96%) currently use low/no-code tools and 36% plan to increase their use over the next 12 months. IT leaders have various approaches for implementing low/no-code tools. An upfront strategy is used by 32% of organizations in parts of their business, 31% have adopted a bottom-up approach driven by developers or systems integrators, while 26% have implemented an upfront strategy across a majority of the business.
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    How automated are the following business functions

  22. Automation is driving process efficiency, yet fully automated processes are lacking - Automation maturity is growing as more organizations turn to automation to enhance customer experiences and product/ service quality. Two-thirds of organizations (67%) have either automated their IT operations and many have introduced automation across other business functions — including finance, customer support, marketing, sales, and HR. However, fully automated processes remain quite low — with an average of 23% of organizations saying they've reached this across business functions.
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    Top 5 business priorities over the next 12 months: 

  24. Information security #1 priority for business - With new laws and regulations emerging every year requiring businesses to adhere to complex data control requirements, data privacy and protection remain top of mind. Information security is the most significant business priority for organizations in the next 12 months, ahead of digital transformation and cloud strategy. 
  25. Security compliance is degrading the customer experience - More than three-quarters (77%) of senior IT leaders agree that internal security and governance risks are as high as external ones — with 83% saying they monitor how employees access and use customer data. However, maintaining high-quality customer experiences while securing data can be a challenge. Sixty-three percent of IT leaders say their security and governance controls degrade the customer experience.  Eighty-three percent of senior IT leaders say public concerns over data privacy have prompted their organization to increase security and governance investments. For 84%, data protection regulations — such as GDPR and CPRA — have influenced investment decisions.
  26. The role of senior IT leaders has evolved beyond technology acumen - In a post-pandemic world, senior IT leaders require a skill set that is much broader than technology expertise. The report found that 84% of IT leaders noted the need for developing non-IT skills to add strategic value to their businesses. 
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    KPIs IT leaders are being measured on

  28. IT now measured by productivity, cost reduction, and experiences - Roughly half of all senior IT leaders are now evaluated on employee productivity (52%), cost reduction and optimization (50%), and customer (48%) and employee experience (46%). This varies between industries; for financial services and insurance, for example, 62% of senior IT leaders are measured on employee productivity.
  29. IT is burdened with project backlogs - Three-quarters (74%) of respondents say project backlogs are preventing them from working on strategic initiatives. To overcome these challenges, organizations need to leverage APIs, automation, and low/no-cost tools to create connected customer and employee experiences.

There are no IT projects, there are only business projects. The IT Leaders Pulse Report 2022 is a very comprehensive study of the IT landscape that ever evolving changes in technology, business models, new processes, future investments and challenges, and most importantly the people that make up IT organizations. To learn more, you can visit here

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