IT talent acquisition challenges are now heavily influencing technology investment decisions, according to new research released by Salesforce's MuleSoft. The 2022 IT Leaders Pulse Report reveals that almost three quarters (73%) of senior IT leaders agree that acquiring IT talent has never been harder, and nearly all (98%) respondents say attracting IT talent influences their organization's technology investment choices.
The report also shows that today's IT leaders are using technology to create more people-centric experiences for their employees and customers. The majority (86%) of senior IT leaders now say the experience an organization provides its employees and customers is as important as its products and services, and four out of five respondents agree that improved customer-facing (86%) and employee (85%) technologies are critical for their organization to compete.
"Shifting economic headwinds are making technology even more fundamental to success across every part of the business, including sales, service, marketing, commerce, and IT," said Matt McLarty, Global Field CTO, MuleSoft. "As IT leaders struggle to fill roles to support this additional demand, the traditional playbook is in question. Today's IT leaders must look instead to broader, company-wide process improvements, through automation, that foster innovation, enhance user experiences, and drive efficient growth."
IT talent acquisition pressures are shaping technology investment decisions
Almost nine out of ten (87%) senior IT leaders agree investing in people is hugely important. As a result, the majority of respondents plan to invest in improving IT employees' wellbeing (82%) and upskilling (78%), both of which are ahead of increasing IT headcount (68%), over the next 12 months. The report shows:
- The 'Great Resignation' has created skills gaps across IT: Nearly all (98%) of senior IT leaders say that the 'Great Resignation' has created skills gaps in their organization's IT function, primarily within IT and solutions architecture (60%), and cloud and infrastructure management (45%).
- Organizations are embracing automation and self-serve initiatives: Many senior IT leaders are turning to automation and self-serve initiatives to address the growing skills gap. Across industries, 58% of organizations are automating tasks and processes, and 53% are empowering non-technical employees with automation tools to meet their own needs.
- IT leaders are being measured on user experience: More than half are now evaluated on employee productivity (52%), while many are also measured on cost reduction and optimization (50%), customer experience (48%), and employee experience (46%).
Process improvements foster innovation and efficiency
While creating experiences is crucial, a people-centric IT and business strategy needs efficient processes to succeed. More than half of IT leaders (54%) think that working processes between IT and business teams could be significantly improved. The report also showed:
- Existing IT processes are a bottleneck: Nine out of ten (91%) senior IT leaders say that existing IT processes are hindering productivity. Process challenges are also reported to negatively impact innovation (91%), technology adoption (92%), customer experience (92%), and employee experience (93%).
- Process improvements are high on the agenda: Almost half (46%) of senior IT leaders say that making process improvements is a major priority for their organization over the next 12 months.
- Fusion teams for process efficiency: A majority of respondents are looking to create fusion teams to improve processes and address process-oriented challenges. Fusion teams are multi-disciplinary teams that blend workers with technology, analytics, or domain expertise and who share responsibility for business and technology outcomes. More than two-thirds (69%) of organizations have created or are in the process of rolling out fusion teams, and 22% plan to do so within the next 12 months.
Notably, of organizations with fusion teams already in place, 63% of senior IT leaders say these teams have been very effective in helping the business meet its goals.
Automation and low- and no-code tools drive efficiency and enhance user experiences
Empowerment and enablement through technology drives business growth, and organizations are using best-of-breed technologies to create new customer and employee experiences. While this strategy can increase agility, four out of five (81%) senior IT leaders agree that this approach means that their organization struggles with IT complexity. What's more:
- Integration headaches remain: The majority of senior IT leaders believe data or system integration projects take too long (66%) and are too expensive (69%). At the same time, more than two-thirds (68%) recognize that a lack of data or system integration creates a disconnected customer experience. Consequently, nearly all (98%) senior IT leaders say that new investments are influenced by a tool's ability to integrate with existing technology.
- Companies are embracing low- and no-code tools: Many senior IT leaders are turning to low- and no-code tools to enable business users to build and test new experiences. Almost all organizations (96%) currently use low- and no-code tools and 36% plan to increase their use over the next 12 months.
- Automation maturity is growing, but there is room for improvement: Many organizations have implemented automation to enhance customer experiences and product quality. Two-thirds of organizations (67%) have either mostly or fully automated their IT operations, and many have introduced similar levels of automation across other business functions — including customer support (59%), finance (60%), marketing (58%), sales (56%), and HR (55%). However, fully automated processes remain quite low — with an average of 23% of organizations saying they've been able to achieve this across business functions.
"The current economic climate leaves IT leaders no choice – they have to do more with less. The tools are there to empower more users to become digital builders, and help their organizations grow while improving efficiency. By automating processes where feasible, leaders can realize value faster and accelerate innovation," added McLarty.