The percentage of IT leaders who are seeing budget increases this year is higher than anticipated, and while they are confident about satisfying core and line-of-business initiatives, they are losing confidence in the ability to meet the demands of new initiatives.
These were among the findings of the TEKsystems midyear IT Reality Check, a survey that compares current market conditions on the state of spending, skills needs and impact areas to those reported in the company's annual IT forecast released in December 2015.
The report, based on a survey of more than 300 IT leaders, found that impact areas have remained relatively consistent: Security is at the top, followed by mobility and cloud computing, but data center consolidation took a big leap into the top four.
"The trend of decentralization of IT initiatives has resulted in a shift in technology-related budgets to areas outside of where that budget has traditionally sat, namely with the CIO and core IT," Jason Hayman, research manager at IT staffing and talent management specialist TEKsystems, told eWEEK. "Now other players—business leaders, the CMO—are in the mix and leading their own technology implementations with IT serving in a consultative and less controlling role."
In those organizations, core IT professionals still feel confident about their ability to master the standard, keep-the-lights-on demands of the business, as they reside in the IT department's area of responsibility, Hayman explained.
"However, because they're not driving all of the new initiatives and are often brought in late in the game on issues like information security or application compatibility, their confidence in the ability to satisfy the demands of these initiatives is lessening," he said.
The report found skills associated with starting projects (architects) and leveraging data (big data analytics) are increasingly seen as in short supply.
Programmers and developers, project managers and software engineers also remained highly difficult-to-fill positions.
As of midyear 2016, security, previously ranked second, fell to No. 6 (38 percent) and database administrators, previously ranked fourth, fell to No. 9 (28 percent).
Conversely, architects rose from No.7 at the end of 2015 (36 percent) to the top position, and big data analytics rose from No. 10 to No. 5 (39 percent).
While networking was a higher priority at the beginning of 2016, the growth of cloud adoption and Internet of things projects has initiated a shift in required IT skill sets, Hayman said.
As those initiatives have matured, the need for data analytics and the ability to derive actions supporting business objectives from that data has taken priority.
"The reasons big data and data analytics talent is so difficult to find is speed, ambiguity and complexity," Hayman said. "Data tools that are used to synthesize and organize an organization's data are constantly evolving. Many times a data analytics professional is being asked to sync up several different tools at once, and the speed at which these tools keep evolving makes it difficult for the talent to keep up, meaning there are fewer and fewer than can do the job."