A lack of speed and skills are turning IT into an endangered species

CIOs are concerned that current IT operations will not be able to meet the long-term needs of businesses, according to the results of a new study released today by VCE, the Converged Platforms Division of EMC.

As technology continues to become ever-more embedded across all areas of business, below-par infrastructures and a lack of skills are raising doubts about IT departments' readiness for the future.

In terms of the challenges facing IT departments, 41 per cent of CIOs believe that extracting value from ever greater volumes of data is the top obstacle that needs to be overcome, followed by the need to accommodate business unpredictability. By 2019, this is expected to be replaced by enabling real-time business operations, although 37 per cent predict that data will still present the biggest challenge.

However, whereas growth and the further proliferation of technology throughout businesses present opportunities for many areas, CIOs are not feeling quite so confident. 69 per cent are worried that business growth will reveal weaknesses in traditional IT operations and could even lead to IT inhibiting innovation rather than enabling it. 80 per cent feel that implementing a more advanced and agile IT infrastructure would mitigate this risk and nearly half are retraining IT professionals in modern skills such as converged infrastructure and cloud computing.

As you would expect, the size of the company also has an effect. Those with 1,000 or more employees appear less concerned and are more likely to have introduced a modern IT infrastructure.

Indeed, in smaller companies, a lot of power is stripped from IT departments and shared around other areas of the business. 39 per cent of those surveyed said that the IT agenda is set by functions other than IT and business, such as marketing (11 per cent) and sales (10 per cent). This disconnect can also be seen in the boardroom, with 58 per cent of CIOs convinced they have overall control over IT, while just 14 per cent of business CxOs agree with them.

“The research casts new light on current attitudes towards IT within businesses of all sizes," said Nigel Moulton, EMEA CTO, VCE. "To reclaim full control, CIOs and their IT teams need to stop spending so much time building and managing different infrastructure components.

"Instead they need to transform IT into an efficient business-focused engine that can scale rapidly in response to changing business needs. This demands a modern data centre. One way of achieving is by implementing a robust, software-defined, converged infrastructure. Convergence can power more agile development and increased speed to market, addressing directly some of the top IT challenges identified."

The study surveyed over 2700 business and IT professionals in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

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