More than forty per cent of technology leaders and professionals have little or no trust in how third parties use their data, while those working for older companies question their ability to innovate. The figures are contained in the annual Technology Survey from global recruiter, Harvey Nash.

The authors of the study sought the views of over 3000 technology professionals in 81 countries. Among some of the key findings of the report;

  • An organisation 3-5 years old is almost twice as likely to be ‘very innovative’ as one 20+ years old
  • Four in ten have little or no trust in how third parties are using their data
  • Whilst almost half of the respondents think corporates will reduce investment in bespoke software, over half believe bespoke will increasingly be focused on innovation and differentiation in the market
  • Ninety-five per cent of tech people are actively developing their skills. Almost four in ten are not waiting for their employer’s help and are paying for training out of their own money
  • One in ten report their job is already being significantly affected by automation.  A further three in ten expect to feel the bite in the next decade

According to the authors, while there is a huge potential for companies to gather insights from data, a good proportion of the people tasked with keeping that data safe have serious doubts about their partners.

In the digital world, where innovation often occurs where the boundaries of the organisation blend into the wider ecosystem, this is a significant problem. The trend suggests it’s getting better but only slowly.

“As technology becomes more prevalent, consumers have more options and there is a risk that they will be less loyal. How organisations deal with their data is one way that loyalty will be earned in the future,” say the authors.

Age of ideas

The report also reaffirmed what many professionals who have experienced the worlds of incumbency and insurgency understand. The reality is that the older the business the less likely it is to innovate.

The study found that tech professionals who worked for companies younger than ten years old were significantly more likely to view their organisation as ‘very innovative’ than those working for older organisations. Interestingly size of the company did not have the same impact.

The authors note; “Regardless of whether you have a turnover of $50m or $500m, your likelihood of being very innovative hovers around the 20–27 per cent mark. It seems, therefore, that legacy spaghetti is the real brake on innovation, not size or complexity – and older companies have a lot more of it.”

“It’s perhaps not a surprise. For some older organisations just keeping together the ‘spaghetti’ of legacy systems (and perhaps even more importantly the spaghetti of legacy organisational structures and processes) is enough to extinguish the will to live of even the most enthusiastic innovator,” they wrote.

According to Bridget Gray, managing director, Harvey Nash Australia, “It is often believed that smaller companies are more innovative than larger organisations. However what this year’s Harvey Nash Technology survey tells us is that the defining factor is more likely to be the age of an organisation.

The data revealed that regardless of size, younger companies are in a position to innovate more easily and at pace, she said. “The challenge for older companies is that they tend to have more legacy systems, procedures and structures.”

“To drive the innovation agenda, IT leaders must create a culture that enables their team a platform to share their ideas, truly champion creativity and build out an agile infrastructure to execute,” said Gray.

Your 2022 technology cost line

Artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality look like the hot tick items for the next few years assuming the current hype translates into reality.

The study found that more than 80 per cent of companies expected to be utilising these technologies in five years time. The current figures are down in the 20’s and 30s.

In demand skills for IT

But mainframe usage is expected to tank in the same period. Of course, we have been hearing that for the last 20 years, so maybe suspend your judgment on this point. (In fact, the study found the importance of the mainframe actually increased this year!)

The importance of cloud computing is also declining, however, the authors suggest this has more to do with its general acceptance than anything else. It is now just an accepted part of the plumbing, it seems.

Show them the money

Finally, if you are paying your CIO or CTO less than $US150, 000 a year you are kidding yourselves. That’s the average salary for this role across the whole set of respondents. Programme managers and system architectures were the other two roles to typically net six-figure salaries.

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