IT Organizations Unprepared For Digital Business: Gartner

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Despite uncertainty of when their organizations will be ready for digital business, most IT pros say they will definitely play a part in the transformation when it does happen, according to a recent Gartner report.

Moving to compete in an age of the digital enterprise has been at the top of mind for many organizations, even if it hasn't made the top of their priority lists. Yet. But a new report from Gartner found that 41% of IT professionals surveyed said they believe that their own organizations will be ready for digital business within the next two years. But the majority of respondents, 59%, said their companies are unprepared to meet the digital age within the same time frame.

Also, 29% of survey respondents said that engagement with those demands of digital business would be their primary duty or a significant part of their duties.

Gartner surveyed 948 of its clients across 30 countries in the first quarter of 2016 to prepare the report. Those surveyed included IT pros across many different job categories and disciplines. They were all asked about their roles in their organizations' efforts to transform to meet the demands of digital business, according to Gartner.

"IT professionals indicate that their investment priorities, infrastructure changes, skills development and business-IT interactions are in flux, and that they are unsure how their IT organization will make it through any digital transformation," said John Hagerty, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, in a prepared statement.

"For some, change is coming too fast. For others, it's not coming fast enough," Hagerty said. "Many know they need to change, to think and act differently, but they struggle with these shifts. Many find it hard to balance today's demands -- including simply keeping their organization running -- with tomorrow's must-haves."

The survey found cloud computing, analytics, mobility, and security are the top technology areas that will have the greatest impact on IT pros' jobs and careers over the next 18 months. Of this list of technologies, IT pros surveyed said they believe that cloud will have the biggest impact on their jobs in 2016, with 22% choosing that option. The second most popular choice was data and analytics at 11%.

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"Acquiring cloud skills quickly is essential for IT professionals to be able to reimagine and remake their firm's IT infrastructure to better enable digital business strategies," added Mr. Hagerty. "However, it's not only cloud -- there's a whole collection of technology and effectiveness-related skills that IT professionals must plan for now."

Survey participants were also asked to identify specific skills gaps within their organizations, and cloud and data and analytics led the list. But Hagerty noted that it wasn't just a technology gap hurting organizations efforts to become digital businesses. Three of the top 10 responses about gaps identified professional effectiveness skills -- critical thinking/problem solving, business acumen/knowledge, and communication skills.  

It all amounts to a heavy dose of uncertainty about how to get from here to there as IT organizations grapple with skills and technology gaps.

Yet in spite of the uncertainty, 91% of IT pros surveyed said one thing they are certain of is that they will play a part in the digital transformation of their organizations.

Given the challenges, how soon can we expect that to happen? Probably later rather than sooner -- at least for the 59% of respondents who said their IT organizations are unprepared for digital business in the next two years. 

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