Programmers and developers top the list of most critical roles driving business success, while IT management positions decline in influence, according to a new report from IT services and staffing firm TEKsystems.
Confidence in satisfying and supporting core IT has diminished this year, due in part to declining budgets, the report found. The 1,000 IT leaders surveyed also reported that IT managerial roles are no longer being called upon for leadership or strategic decisions, and are instead relegated to core IT activities related to maintaining existing implementations.
Vice president and director-level IT roles—which ranked in the top five most critical roles for enabling organizational success in 2015—did not make the top five again in the following three years.
SEE: IT Hiring Kit: Programmer (Tech Pro Research)
IT has run into a wall due in large part to the rise of shadow IT, and how easy it is for other departments to obtain technology on their own, said TEKsystems research manager Jason Hayman. As purchases are made outside of IT, the department is still asked to integrate it or maintain and support it.
"The role of the IT function in the business continues to evolve," Hayman said. "With the whole focus on digitalization and customer experience, IT is really under a lot of pressure, and there's no sign of that spotlight moving away. IT's really got to help drive the organization forward."
Changing role of IT
Improving efficiency will top the list of IT business objectives for 2018, the survey found, followed by implementing new IT applications and infrastructure and improving existing IT applications and infrastructure.
This marks the first time that implementing or improving existing apps did not top the list, and supports the finding that centralized IT is becoming more responsible for maintaining established IT solutions, especially in the areas of security and data, and less responsible for newer IT initiatives, the report noted.
"There's a shift in a budgets, initiatives and executive level influence that will shape a changing IT department in 2018, and most likely beyond," Hayman said. "IT has a unique opportunity where they've evolved into this gateway to disruption by enabling and driving innovation. The IT teams really need to work closely and in lockstep with the organization in order to really meet those business goals."
However, when it comes to leveraging new technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), and blockchain, IT is lagging behind in terms of development. Few IT leaders said they had any initiatives planned for these technologies in the coming year. Part of the lag may be that IT leaders are not as confident in their ability to satisfy and support new initiatives, due in part to lack of budget and overall decentralization of IT, the report noted.
SEE: Shadow IT policy (Tech Pro Research)
"IT is really going to have to shift to more of a partner to the business, and making sure they are in lockstep with what the business goals are," Hayman said. "Then, they can enable that to really help to disrupt, or help the organization disrupt, their particular sector."
Decentralization makes it challenging for IT and the business to align, Hayman said. For successful digital transformation projects, both parties need to be at the table for important conversations about how technology can help realize goals, rather than IT waiting for direction from the business.
"Digital transformation is going to give organizations this unique opportunity to use technology as that strategic asset for the whole enterprise," Hayman said. "Those capable IT teams that can support it are really going to help separate and differentiate organizations from the rest of their competition. That's going to mean identifying areas to increase efficiency, and add greater value to the technology."
The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers
1. Programmers and developers top the list of most critical roles driving business success, while IT management positions decline in influence, according to a new report from TEKsystems.
2. Improving efficiency will top the list of IT business objectives for 2018, the survey found, followed by implementing new IT applications and infrastructure and improving existing IT applications and infrastructure.
3. To remain an influential part of the organization, IT must demonstrate how it can work with the business to find the right technology solutions to meet business needs.
- How to convince your C-suite to commit to digital transformation (TechRepublic)
- The top 10 barriers to digital transformation (TechRepublic)
- Why CIOs must step up to lead digital transformation efforts (TechRepublic)
- Five winning plays for digital transformation (ZDNet)
- Advanced Business Skills Bundle (TechRepublic Academy)
- Ebook—IT leader's guide to achieving digital transformation (Tech Pro Research)
Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.