Survey: IT Leaders Lack Business Skills and Resources

Today’s IT leaders are under increasing pressure to transform their departments into services-oriented organizations that “run IT like a business.”

But do today’s IT leaders have the skills and resources to deliver those kinds of results? Unfortunately, a new study from Modis International indicates that the answer to that question is a rather sobering “No.”

Modis surveyed IT leaders to take their pulse on issues regarding department functions and resources. The research found that:

  • Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of those polled said that the demand on their teams far outweighs their ability to deliver.
  • Half (51 percent) said that their teams need greater technical expertise with current systems to be able to support their businesses with commercial goals. One-third (34 percent) admitted their teams do not have the right expertise to cope with new systems at all.
  • Seven out of ten agree that training current staff will be their priority in plugging the skills gap rather than recruitment, suggesting to Modis that IT leaders lack the resources to invest in new talent. Interestingly, only 15 percent said they would consider outsourcing IT, preferring instead to boost existing resources and keep activity in-house.

We heard a similar theme at our most recent CIO Technology Business Management Council meeting. Rebecca Jacoby, CIO for Cisco, gave a presentation about Cisco’s multi-year services transformation initiative. One of the key points that Rebecca made was that for these types of initiatives to truly succeed, this notion of transformation needs to be embedded in the culture itself. To ensure cross-functional support for their own services transformation initiative, Rebecca established management “cohorts” which are small groups (12-15 people per group) each with their own designated leader. These cohorts meet eight times per year for two hours per session with a goal of sharing leadership strategies and best practices. According to Rebecca, these cohorts have been “instrumental in terms of getting everyone to buy into the notion of transformation.”

As the pressure to deliver commercial growth continues to grow, IT leaders will not only have to broaden their existing skill set but will also need to consider how their culture will respond and adapt to these major initiatives.