Challenges and Opportunities for Technology Leaders (Part 1 of 2)

Introduction

Ask CIOs and senior technology leaders what they want to be known for and their responses will revolve around ensuring that their organisation meets their strategic goals. Those goals will include providing better public services, increasing customer satisfaction, delivering digital products and giving their colleagues access to the data and insight they need to do a better job. All provided within a framework of better security and being more sustainable.

Recent research undertaken with over 2,000 tech leaders[1] identified three key priorities:

# Improving customer engagement

# Developing new products and services

# Improving operational efficiency

However, ask them what they actually do, and the answer is often very different. The reality is that so much of their team’s time is spent simply trying to keep things running.

Here at 4OC, we’re interested in understanding why that is and working with Tech leaders to identify new ways to bring about the difference they want to make.

The Major Challenges facing Tech Teams

In order to start making real progress, it’s important to delve into the key challenges facing tech teams.

The scope of technology in organisations and hence the breadth of knowledge and skills required of their tech teams has massively increased over the last ten years. Technology is no longer simply a back-office function – organisations are now expected to provide their services and products digitally. Customers expect a seamless experience and staff want to be able to do their jobs and access information from anywhere.

Demand for technology services nearly always outstrips the ability to supply it. This can lead to frustration from the rest of the organisation as their aspirations are not met and in the tech teams who want to work on more interesting and value-added areas.

4OC’s experience with our clients has pointed up that most technology teams experience some combination of the following issues.

Gaps in People Capacity/Capability

Research from Gartner[2] IT executives highlights the talent shortage as the most significant adoption barrier to 64% of emerging technologies. This is not only driving up costs but also slowing down delivery. The pinch is felt particularly hard in the not-for-profit and the public sector who struggle to match the salaries and training opportunities provided by much of the private sector.

Unsuitable Existing / Legacy / Heritage applications

All but the most recent start-ups will have a set of line-of-business applications that have a chequered history, but which remain key to doing business. Our work with organisations has shown that users find many of their existing tech systems are outdated, difficult to use and can be expensive to run. One of the single biggest issues is that the data collected cannot be exploited because old systems struggle to communicate with new systems.

Expectant Customers

Tech has extended from the back office to be front facing, guiding the customer’s journey. Service users have come to expect the organisations they interact with to be digitally competent – they want to be able to access services and information online.

Technology eco-systems need to be working well and transferring information from one system to another seamlessly if organisations are to be truly successful in delivering excellent service across multiple channels. Many organisations are not at this point and lose customers or at best frustrate them.

Data Dreams and Data Reality

Quality joined-up data is crucial. It improves customer experience, operational performance, profitability and product development across the whole organisation. The challenge is that while most tech leaders have a good idea of what is needed to maximise the use of data, there is a lot of work to be done and skills to be developed before the organisation can operate at the pace they need to, to deliver real benefit.

Security

Every technology leader will have had sleepless nights worrying about security. It’s the most difficult area to recruit good skills and one of the hardest areas to justify and prioritise investment – unless there’s already been a serious security breach!  So there needs to be a focus on a strategy that reduces risk.

It’s not easy, but there is a way forward

Although these challenges could leave us feeling overwhelmed and make it difficult to know where to start, there are so many opportunities for tech teams to make a positive impact and it’s this we need to focus on.

Here at 4OC, we are helping organisations utilise the power of digital transformation to overcome business challenges. We have developed Rapid Process Improvement (RPI) which digitally transforms manual business processes into easy-to-use Apps with consistent and assured results, delivering improved operational efficiencies and increased productivity.

Whatever the future post-Covid-19 will hold, the need to design and deliver change – and therefore control the purse strings – around service users and providers will not change. And the need for Local Authorities to continue to be responsive will be a constant.

From Challenge to Opportunity

Find out more about our digital and technology solutions that add real value to organisations, including our Rapid Process Improvement solution.

Look out for Kevin’s next post, due to be published in early January 2022, in which he focuses on the reasons to be positive and how we can tackle some of these challenges. Feel free to email kevin.gallagher@the4oc.com with any comments or questions you have.

 

[1] Digital Leadership Report 2021, published by Harvey Nash (https://www.harveynashgroup.com/dlr)

[2] Gartner’s 2021-2023 Emerging Technology Roadmap Survey