IT leaders concerned that budget cuts will ‘hamper’ growth

What are the pain points, challenges and opportunities facing IT departments across the globe? Research from Sungard Availability Services today reveals that 61% of UK decision makers believe budget cuts will impact their ability to invest in IT, with 48% expressing concerns that security spending is the area most affected by reduced budgets.

Budget pressures and security compliance

The research took a global snapshot of how core IT budget cuts are holding businesses back from making investments in new technologies. With the UK looking to reinforce its business credentials and encourage inward investment for a post-Brexit era, it is worrying that the findings showing 61% of UK businesses  being impacted.

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In spite of increased cyber threats nearly half of UK businesses (48%) identified security as the area most affected by the squeeze on IT costs. Despite this, the research found that besides Canada, the UK is the country least concerned with issues of remaining compliant with only 32% of UK IT departments viewing this as one of their biggest business challenges.

The research also revealed that on a global level the wider issue of remaining compliant was not the number one priority, with only 33% of IT departments identifying compliance as a top concern, despite the various upcoming changes in EU Global Data Protection Regulation due to come into force in May 2018.

Keeping the lights on

With 12% of UK IT decision makers indicating that their budgets are going down, it is perhaps no surprise that  27% of IT time is dedicated to innovation, whilst over half of time (64%) is taken up with day to day tasks.

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Speaking of the findings, Keith Tilley, EVP and vice chair, Sungard Availability Services stated:“There’s no escaping the impact that technology has on a business, and almost every organisation surveyed, across all sectors, will have to adopt new technologies to remain competitive and achieve growth.”

 The keys to success

For IT leaders looking to make a tangible contribution to their organisation’s business outcomes, the research identified ‘Four keys to Success’ namely:

1. Spend day-to-day time innovating– UK respondents spend 27% of time  dedicated to innovation, only just behind the global average of 28%.

2. Leverage a bimodal IT model– global average is 79%  with the UK lagging somewhat at 69%.

3. Invest heavily in emerging technologies– 69%  for global intent, with the UK nearly ten points behind at 60%.

4. Proactively work with other lines of business– all IT teams need to get better at this; globally less than half (44%) spend time being proactive, a fraction ahead of the UK’s 43%.

Although UK businesses compare favourably with their peers from the other countries surveyed in terms of innovation and proactivity, there is work to be done to close the gaps in the adoption of bimodal and emerging technologies.

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Control and influence of the IT department

Interestingly, when asked to name the top three roles that should have the authority to drive forward IT decisions, 68% of UK businesses placed the CTO as the most influential. Following in second place was the CIO with 63%, with the CEO coming in third place, but with a much-diminished backing of 30%.  When looking to the other regions, France clearly places greater emphasis on security, with 64% stating the CSO should have the most influence when it comes to IT decisions – the highest of any region.

Tilley concluded that “Successful identification and adoption of the right digital strategies will depend on IT leaders having the confidence and backing of their fellow board members to make the investments needed to unleash technology’s potential to transform their business. While this research points towards this being a global problem, with the challenges posed by Brexit and GDPR compliance on the near horizon, British business need to prioritise their IT strategies to address perceived gaps. Only those who understand the value of doing this will ultimately storm ahead to secure their competitive advantage.”


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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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