UK IT Departments Struggle to Keep up with Digital Demands 

Complexity, lack of time, and a skills shortage mean that UK IT Departments are failing to meet business expectations for digital technology

Research from Sungard Availability Services® (Sungard AS), a leading provider of information availability through managed IT, cloud and recovery services, has revealed that IT decision makers in the UK are struggling to keep up with the increased digital demands placed upon them by employees and business leaders[i].

Digital technologies are a game-changer for businesses and a powerful tool for growth. This has caused a huge drive to adopt new and emerging technologies, from cloud based applications through to online collaborative working, to increase productivity, develop new revenue streams and improve communications with internal and external parties. The research highlighted just how high expectations are when it came to this digital push, with 79% of UK IT departments stating that digital adoption is critical in remaining competitive within their industry. UK employees are also demanding more digital technologies, claiming it makes their jobs easier (63%), and enables them to develop new skills (59%).

Failure to keep up with digital demands

However, expectations are not living up to reality. Despite over half (55%) of UK workers believing that their IT team is critical in delivering this digital drive, over a third (32%) are concerned that their organisation is falling behind the competition. Consequently, IT Decision Makers (ITDMs) in the UK are beginning to feel the heat: 47% believe the speed of digital transformation is not meeting office workers’ expectations while 50% feel they are behind on management demands.

These demands and expectations mean IT departments are now struggling to control their technology. Half of IT Decision Makers (ITDMs) in the UK feel like they lack the skills to integrate new systems into their legacy estate, whilst 43% feel that they do not have enough time to dedicate towards digital transformation. Nearly four in ten (37%) also felt that they were too focused on maintaining legacy systems rather than deploying new digital technologies.

The research, which was conducted across the UK, US, France, Sweden and Ireland, also highlights an interesting geographical split when it came to the biggest “soft skill” barriers to digital adoption. In the UK and France,understanding the business benefits of digital was the biggest obstacle to successfully deploying these kinds of technologies, whereas businesses from the US, Ireland and Sweden stated that communicating the benefits of digital transformation to senior leadership was their biggest hindrance.

“Adoption of the latest digital technologies is vital in remaining competitive, so if IT fails to deliver, the impact will be felt across the entire organisation.” said Keith Tilley, executive vice president, global sales & customer services management at Sungard Availability Services. “When implemented correctly, IT can be a powerful force for competitive advantage whether it’s increasing both business and employee productivity, or increasing staff retention – not to mention improving a company’s bottom line.

“IT can be likened to a bear; at its best IT can be this force for good, but at its worst can be slow, unpredictable, and liable to lash out if placed under too much pressure. For the IT department, controlling this bear is a challenge in itself, and it is being made all the more difficult as pressure mounts from around the business, and within the IT department itself. Ultimately, taming this ‘bear’ is about staying in control of your organisation’s IT, creating the right conditions for it to be predictable and productive in order to harness the power it holds. Right now, all eyes are on the IT department to help to drive this change, but they don’t need to go it alone. Working with the right partner can offer the support needed to generate success and keep the bear in check.”

Author: Dylan Jones

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