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Old technology frustrates CIOs as they scramble to keep up with emerging trends

Ageing or mismatched IT infrastructure that is inhibiting seamless communication among an increasingly mobile workforce is a growing source of frustration for CIOs.

Equally frustrating for some of those ICT decision-makers is the fact that budget restraint is restricting efforts to accelerate technology upgrades as work practices adapt to the opportunities mobility presents.

These are just two of the findings in the latest Vita Enterprise Solutions Insights Survey, which canvassed the opinions of more than 320 key executives in enterprises with an annual ICT spend of more than $75,000 and with workforces ranging from 50 employees to more than 10,000.

The findings are largely optimistic, and there was almost universal agreement that the trends driving business IT investment are the same as last year – the cloud, mobility, security and rapid technological advances.

Budget restraint in FY17 is cited by just over half the ICT managers surveyed as a pain point, while disparate or ageing technology is perceived as having a significant impact on productivity for 40 per cent and at least a moderate impact for most of the rest. Risk mitigation, the quest for productivity gains and the retention of skilled staff also feature prominently on the list of challenges facing CIOs.

“Retaining staff and finding staff with the correct skills,” was typical of many of the responses.

There was also a notable increase from last year's Insights survey in the focus on efficiency and cost management. Tellingly, two out of three respondents agreed that enterprises underestimated the costs of managing their fleet of mobile devices.

Despite many ICT decision-makers citing budget restraint as a source of pressure, the majority of them were actually preparing for an increased spend in FY17, or at least a continuation of FY16 levels. Nearly 47 per cent were planning for an increase – roughly in line with last year’s figure – and about a third were confident of maintaining the same budget as FY16. Business expansion is the main driver of this budget growth, followed by technology upgrades.

“Hardware refresh, more cloud-based software subscriptions, faster and better connectivity,” was how one CIO put it.

Many ICT decision-makers maintaining their spending levels in FY17 said previous investment in technology had started bearing fruit, delivering savings and productivity gains that negated the need to increase their budget. “We are now using cloud infrastructure (IaaS, SaaS) so there is no need for server/desktop upgrades,” said one.

The Insights survey taps into the thoughts and intentions of “ICT decision-makers”, but who are they? This year’s poll asked some personal questions in a bid to find out.

Mostly, they are quite fit, with more than three-quarters of the respondents saying they exercise three or more times a week. Given the demands of their jobs it is probably necessary that they stay in good shape. They also love a cuppa, with the majority of them (about 60 per cent) preferring coffee over tea, with flat white, latte and cappuccino the preferred styles.

When it comes to sport, AFL is the clear winner, with 28 per cent of tech managers naming it as the game they prefer to watch. Its nearest rival was tennis, enjoyed by 17 per cent. Soccer was next, with 14 per cent.

 

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