Change Image by Bluehouse Skis from Pixabay ManageEngine has published its IT at work: 2022 and beyond report. The latest global trend is the decentralisation of IT. It found that whilst 94% of global organisations are decentralising the IT function, almost a third (31%) of UK firms have no plans to do so. The research is based on responses from around 3,000 respondents worldwide, of which 300 were in the UK and Ireland. So this is not insignificant. The report provided was the UK version without the global data, which would have been more interesting.

The report is eleven pages long, with a summary of findings followed by three sections and a conclusion. The sections are titled:

  • The Strategic role of IT
  • Tech skills and training
  • IT Leaders of the future

The key findings raise some interesting questions about whether things have changed and, oddly, to not raise the decentralisation issue. Some good news for IT leaders is that 89% of decision-makers agree that IT is more responsible for business innovation than ever before. With respondents coming from across the business (although ManageEngine does not reveal any detailed demographics), this is positive for IT.

Another area where the report is interesting is the security stance. In the UK, 23% of decision-makers believe that everyone in the organisation should be responsible for protecting their organisation from cyberattacks. 23% of UK respondents hold all employees more accountable for security than any other. However, the global average is far lower, 7% and 6%, respectively. This is woefully low and of grave concern.

What is in IT at work: 2022 and beyond report?

The Strategic role of IT

The strategic role of IT focuses on the responsibility of security within firms and the changing nature of the relationship between IT and the business. Security is no longer just in the IT domain, with IT and business decision-makers referring to roles such as Chief Security Officer, Chief IT Officer, Chief Technology Officer, and all employees and external MSSPs as responsible. It might have been interesting if similar questions about accountability had also been asked—i.e. who owns the MSSP relationship and is ultimately accountable within the business. Also, there is no trending information from any previous years, which would have been interesting.

The question of whether IT should be decentralised with more responsibility placed within business units is also unresolved for many. 89% of IT decision-makers and business decision-makers see benefits to decentralisation. However, there are also challenges to overcome; importantly, these challenges appear to be ongoing rather than just a hurdle. They include:

  • Maintaining IT security levels (47%)
  • Maintaining regulatory structure (41%)
  • Maintaining reliability of ongoing support (41%)

The benefits of decentralisation are seen as increasing the scope of innovation across the business by 55%, leading to greater recognition of IT’s role in the business by 51%. What is not clarified is whether this is a matrix management organisational structure. Business IT and business decision-makers see IT as integral to the business’s overall success (88% and 86%, respectively).

Tech skills and training

Tech skills and training acknowledge that all employees are more tech-savvy than they were two years ago. However, It does not seem to have been involved much in this education process. The research also highlights the growing importance of AI/ML, with 94% of business decision-makers saying they have invested in AI/ML. The use cases are varied, with the top three cited:

  • 60% use AI to automate specific tasks
  • 53% use AI to prevent cybersecurity attacks
  • 40% use AI to replace support agents

The skills gap is still the biggest challenge for those deploying the latest technologies. In addition, and perhaps shockingly, 39% said employees are usually not included in decisions concerning the technology they will use. Though again, a qualitative element might have pulled more information around this.

IT Leaders of the future

The report seems to indicate that many IT leaders are disillusioned. 62% feel they were unsupported in the last two years, 45% are less loyal than they were two years ago, with 39% are looking for a new job. Many firms are getting it right, though, as the situation appears black and white, with 53% feeling more loyal. Is the Great Resignation about to hit IT Leaders?

The big question is whether IT leaders should become more integrated into the business and better understand the business, not just the technology. The respondents’ grievances seem self-centred, with 55% citing pay increases and 56% the cessation of flexible working as the greatest concerns.

Arun Kumar, regional director at ManageEngine
Arun Kumar, regional director at ManageEngine

Arun Kumar, regional director at ManageEngine, says: “Post the pandemic, it has become crucial for organisations to focus on various functions, specifically IT functions. It is imperative for IT to become more democratized and empowered. We believe the important statistics derived from this survey will shed light on the current scenario in the UK market and draw attention to the factors that command immediate action.”

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

The report throws up some fascinating statistics that could have been delved into in a qualitative survey. IT seems to be at a turning point. If IT leaders do not either decentralise or become more involved in the business, the business may decide to change something themselves. Decentralisation may not be the perfect solution in the long term, and there are already signs that it may be problematic. Some will solve these issues. Others will not. However, the mantra of IT leaders becoming part of the business is not new. It seems, though, that the business is now ready to embrace it. Do IT leaders want to do so, and do they have the right skill sets to succeed?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here