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What are the top IT challenges in your organization? And what opportunities do you foresee? If you haven’t recently taken a big step back from your day-to-day job duties to ponder the challenges and opportunities that your company faces, now would be a good time.

We all often get caught up in the minutiae of the next project, the next deadline, and fail to consider the Big Picture of what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. So let’s consider two recent studies that surveyed mid-market companies.

Although mid-market companies vary widely by industry and geography, three challenges stood out in a Gartner survey taken during the 2015 Midsize Enterprise Summits.

See how these stack up against the challenges that you are facing:

Staffing, mentioned by 24% of respondents
Security, 22%
Budgets, 14%

These three challenges were the only ones that had double-digit responses for this question, but the next popular response was project prioritization, mentioned by 6% of those surveyed. Security, of course, is an important challenge, but I want to draw your attention to the first three: staffing, budgets and prioritizing projects. They’re all related, aren’t they?

Mid-market companies are struggling with finding and keeping talented technology staff, given the workload and budgetary constraints. At the same time, IT managers are trying to figure out where to focus their efforts to get the most bang out of spending or to tackle the most-critical projects first. But to the key stakeholder, his or her project is always critical. Juggling these seemingly contradictory priorities is enough to keep any CIO or CTO up at night.

Another question on the survey tackled application priorities. Among the top choices, you will find business intelligence/analytics, mentioned by 15% of respondents, and mobile apps, 10%. Again, I would argue that these two issues are linked.

An effective mobile app must do more than present information or process transactions. It also must be able to deliver value to the organization through learning more about the customer or client and his/her behaviors and preferences. The easier the interactions are through the app, the more likely the user is to continue to use the product. And the more a company learns about customers, the more targeted an experience the company can deliver.

Revenues, Tech Spending on the Upswing

A Deloitte survey last year of 500 mid-market companies ($100 million-$1 billion in revenue) showed greater expectations for revenue growth when compared to 2014. The more a company planned to reinvest revenue in technology initiatives, the greater the confidence in higher revenue projections.

Nearly one-third of companies said they planned to spend more than 5% of company revenues on technology, versus just 19% that said the same thing in 2014. “This year’s survey signaled greater alignment between IT leaders and the executive suite, particularly as companies focus on paying more attention to customer engagement,” according to the survey.

Diving into the customer engagement piece:

51% of companies are actively building better technology platforms to engage customers
49% of IT departments are focused on delivering seamless/integrated customer experiences
45% of IT departments are involved in designing products and customer solutions
42% put an emphasis on gathering/analyzing customer data

It’s interesting to note that more respondents across all industries said keeping pace with technology was becoming more difficult among a company’s IT staff. The industries reporting the most difficulty included consumer product companies, technology, media and telecom firms.

Regardless of the IT challenges you face and the opportunities that lie ahead, you are not alone. Hopefully, that will help you sleep better at night – and prepare for future growth.

 

By Randall McCroskey March 15, 2016
Tags: Enterprise