As a result of the rapidly changing IT landscape, IT departments are facing increasing pressure to continuously keep their knowledge and services on par with trends and developments. Yet while upcoming theme’s such as augmented reality, 3D-printing or cloud dominate the headlines, a new research from Protiviti shows that IT departments still struggle with mastering the ‘basics’. According to a survey held among 1,100 CIO’s and IT managers, IT Project Management and Virtualisation are the two most important technical priorities for the coming period.
Every year Protiviti, a global consulting firm that specialises in Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) advisory, assesses the top priorities of IT departments. The research, that is based on feedback from 1,100 executives and managers active in the IT domain, looks at 10 different dimensions of IT management:
In the area of ‘Technical Knowledge’ the respondents indicated more than 20 technical fields which according to them require the highest internal focus. Surprisingly, IT Project Management and Virtualisation – topics which have been around for a while – come on top of the wishlist. Other areas that are deemed a “significant priority” (score of >6.0 on 10-point scale) include cloud computing, the implementation of ERP systems, BYOD and mobile. According to Marcel Koers, Manager at Protiviti in The Netherlands, the results demonstrate the state of transition in which many IT organisations find themselves: “Nearly two-thirds of the respondents indicate that they are undergoing a major IT transformation. Because of the increasing complexity of projects – larger in terms of scope, scale and dependencies – companies are extensively looking at manners to expand and deepen their program management capabilities, including fields in its eco-system such as project management, governance and functional expertise.”
Business – IT alignment
From a business perspective, the list of top priorities may hint at a lack of focus on innovation. While sales and marketing departments are anxiously trying to find IT support for their state-of-the-art concepts that rely on upcoming trends as augmented reality or 3D-printing, such new IT domains don’t find themselves top of the priority list. Arne ter Laak, Head of IT Consulting at Protiviti in The Netherlands, explains the phenomenon: “Priorities are viewed from a holistic perspective. The need for boosting high-volume areas such as project management and ERP systems tends to snow under the ‘smaller’ fields – it does not though necessarily mean that focus on innovation is not present.” Yet at the same time it does according to Ter Laak highlight the need for continuous alignment between the business and IT, a conclusion backed also by the results from the Organisational Capabilities category. “The results reveal that from an organizational standpoint cooperation with executives and managers is a top 5 priority, to ensure that IT does not adapt a silo-approach to delivery”.