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Developer shortage causing disconnect between IT and business

Developer shortage causing disconnect between IT and business

Half of IT leaders (49 per cent) report difficulties in achieving stakeholder agreement on important business initiatives, according to a new study that points to a ‘chasm’ between IT and business on how to advance the digital agenda.

The global research commissioned by Mendix reveals “disturbing disconnects” with companies of all sizes having trouble competing and disrupting due to a persistent shortage of software developers.

According to the Digital Disconnect: A Study of Business and IT Alignment in 2019 report, this has resulted in the rise of “shadow IT” when business teams pursue tech solutions on their own, independently of IT.

Four fifths of both sides (78 per cent) strongly agree that business efforts to “go it alone” or undertake projects in the realm of shadow IT – without official IT support or even knowledge – have greatly increased over the last five years.

Lack of alignment

The study indicates any alignment between business and IT fades quickly when the topic turns to budgeting and operational priorities. In the survey, half of IT professionals believe IT budgets are insufficient to deliver solutions at scale.

Conversely, seven in 10 of business respondents do not see any challenges with the level of funding provided.

This impasse is clearly reflected in the shared belief that a huge pipeline exists of unmet requests for IT solutions (77 per cent IT and 71 per cent business), requiring many months or even years for completion.

Nearly two-thirds of business stakeholders (61 per cent) report that less than half of their requests rise to the surface for IT implementation.

Difference in perceptions

The survey data highlights several nuanced differences in perceptions. For example, nearly all respondents (96 per cent) agree there is business impact when IT doesn’t deliver on solutions. But IT leaders feels that impact largely as frustration and loss of staff morale.

Business leaders, on the other hand, believe these delays lead to missed key strategic targets and revenue reductions, loss of competitive advantage, and other ROI impacts.

“While business and IT users agree on the urgent need to advance the enterprise’s digital agenda, they are worlds apart on how to eliminate the backlog and take proactive steps to develop critically important solutions at scale,” said Jon Scolamiero, manager, architecture and governance, Mendix.

“Business leaders say they want IT’s help in achieving strategic goals and ROI, but only a small percentage (32 per cent) grasp that current IT budgets are insufficient and inflexible. This disconnect is difficult for enterprises to surface, yet resolving it is a necessary first step in changing the calculus.”

The research, conducted by California-based Dimensional Research, surveyed more than 1,000 business and IT stakeholders in medium- and large companies in the US and Europe.

Commenting on the findings, Rialto director, Richard Chiumento, said that the disconnect is extremely concerning in this era of digital transformation as many departments are heavily reliant on IT to help them fulfil their strategic goals.

“Skills shortages may be at the root of the problem but strong and informed leadership is also required to step up to the plate and bridge the gap,” he said. “They must recognise the link between skills, technology and strategy and how crucial these elements are to the business in the digital economy. It’s not just about IT but far broader than that.”

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