The skills shortage: The main barrier to digital transformation?

Large enterprise organisations are continuing to invest in new technologies in pursuit of digital transformation, but skills shortages, and migration and integration challenges, are hindering their efforts.

This was the conclusion of research from CIF and BT, which sought to understand how the technology decisions are being made by large enterprises, with more than 1,000 employees, in the face of heightening levels of digital disruption.

It found that 52% of enterprises expect their business models to be moderately or significantly disrupted by 2020, and that 74% either have a digital transformation strategy in place or are in the process of implementing one.

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Alex Hilton, CEO of CIF said: “Of all the parts of our economy, it is large, enterprises that are the most vulnerable to digital disruption and that is clearly something that our respondents recognise. Many have invested heavily in their company assets and carry with them a significant amount of tech debt, often making change difficult, slow and expensive. This makes the customer and IT supplier relationship critical, and enterprise organisations must consider their choice of partner carefully to help them navigate this complexity and integrate existing legacy investments with newer cloud-based technologies. Those that do not, will find themselves at a digital disadvantage.”

Struggling to adapt

Very few organisations believe they are significantly ahead of their competitors in terms of the adoption of next generation technologies, which indicates that many are struggling to adapt to the digital revolution.

Skills shortages sit at the heart of this issue, with enterprises significantly more likely to report facing skills shortages than their smaller counterparts: 59% stated that they lack staff with integration and migration skills (compared to just 28% of SMEs), 64% needed more security expertise and 54% require more strategic digital transformation skills.

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Commenting on the findings, David Simpkins, General Manager, Managed Services and Public Cloud at BT, said: “The research confirms that most enterprises have well developed strategies aimed at minimising digital disruption and enhancing competitiveness. Cloud is clearly an enabler, but many organisations are finding challenges in achieving the agility and flexibility they seek. Unlike small organisations, who can easily be more agile and nimbler in the face of market conditions, change within large enterprises, whose IT estates are infinitely more complex, is much more difficult to achieve.”

“Increasingly we’re seeing enterprises managing a wide range of workloads, combining public and private cloud deployments with data centre infrastructure, while at the same time addressing a range of new security threats. This is changing the skillsets that enterprise IT departments need, and it is clear that many will need greater support to safely transition to the digital age.”

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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...