The global study, conducted by research firm iResearch, surveyed IT leaders from 10 countries in the Americas, Europe, and Asia Pacific on how IT will evolve over the coming five years.
It found that IT leaders’ confidence in their own departments is uncertain.
More than half of all global senior IT decision makers (51%) are unsure that their IT teams can enact positive change over the next five years—with almost one in five (17%) having either no confidence or trust at all, or holding significant doubts.
Poor technology choices are also in the equation: nearly two-thirds (58%) of respondents admitted they have wasted between US$1 million and US$10 million over the last five years on the wrong IT solutions.
12% reported that all their IT investments had paid off in the last five years. Despite the costs wasted, almost a third (29%) also said IT risks being underfunded unless budgets, along with IT roles themselves, are decentralised and integrated into other departments.
The good news is that radical change is afoot: the IT function is set to undergo a significant makeover, which will allow for better decision-making, wiser investments, and greater cross-departmental collaboration. According to the survey, these future changes may include:
IT is adding greater value as a result of decentralisation: The study showed that digital transformation has allowed 68% of IT leaders to disperse responsibility to other functions and 54% to decentralise it by delegating work to others. Wiser investments in technologies like low-code platforms and intelligent automation will make it far easier for people to do tasks. As a result, 66% of respondents expect that digital transformation will result in work that allows IT workers to be more creative, cooperate more with other departments, and spend less time on administrative tasks.
IT workers will develop better leadership and ‘people’ skills: IT workers will evolve from ‘doers’ to more strategic thinkers, with more than a third of survey respondents indicating that people skills will be increasingly important to them moving forward. 38% of respondents said collaborative, empowering technologies give them the freedom to expand their roles and responsibilities, and leadership skills will be critical. Meanwhile, 37% said skills such as problem solving will become key, while 35% said emotional and social skills will be important.
The end of specialist IT managers: Respondents said that building and learning new skills will have the biggest impact on their careers with 78% of senior managers and 76% of managers saying that ongoing, lifelong learning will have either a big or transformational impact on them. This will mean the end of IT managers who spend their entire career specialising in one technology area, as they will increasingly be expected to fill the role of IT generalists.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion will be critical: Nearly one in three (30%) said that in the next three to five years, diversity, equity, and inclusion will continue to gain importance. The industry will see IT adding more talent from historically marginalised groups to build more representative teams in terms of race, gender, disability, sexuality, and other traits.
Workloads are set to increase: It’s not all good news for the IT function though. Despite the fact that technology will relieve them of a lot of the routine administrative work that they do today—meaning less recoding, redoing, and rearchitecting—67% of respondents also believe that their workloads are set to significantly increase as IT becomes more an increasingly valued part of the business.
“In the next three to five years, the IT function will look, feel, and perform very differently to today,” concludes Pegasystems chief technology officer Don Schuerman.
“The accelerated pace of digital transformation has put IT leaders front and centre. It’s also taught many within organisations the strategic value these teams can provide if they are given the tools and the opportunity to be creative, collaborative, and focus their efforts on the areas where they can best add value. All of this will lead to better decision-making, more diverse, skilled workforces, and a more open, united way of working that will help to crush complexity and deliver better outcomes."