The IT talent gap heavily fuelling tech investment decisions, finds MuleSoft

Matt McLarty, Global Field Chief Technology Officer at MuleSoft

IT talent acquisition challenges are now heavily influencing technology investment decisions, finds Salesforce’s MuleSoft. The 2022 IT Leaders Pulse Report reveals that two-thirds (64%) of senior IT leaders in Australia agree that acquiring IT talent has never been harder, and all respondents say attracting IT talent influences their firm’s technology investment choices.

What were the findings of the survey?

The report also shows that today’s IT leaders are using technology to create more people-centric experiences for their employees and customers. The majority (88%) of senior IT leaders in Australia now say the experience an organisation provides its employees and customers is as important as its products and services, and that improved customer-facing (85%) and employee (83%) technologies are critical for their organisation to compete.

IT talent acquisition pressures are shaping tech investment decisions

91% of senior IT leaders agree investing in people is vital. The majority of respondents plan to invest in improving IT employees’ wellbeing (89%) and upskilling (77%), both of which are ahead of increasing IT headcount (74%), over the next 12 months. The report shows:

  • The ‘Great Resignation’ has created skills gaps across IT: All senior IT leaders say that the ‘Great Resignation’ has created skills gaps in their firm’s IT function, primarily within IT and solution architecture (70%), and cloud and infrastructure management (50%).
  • Organisations are embracing automation and self-serve initiatives: Many senior IT leaders in Australia are turning to automation and self-serve initiatives to address the growing skills gap. Across industries, 65% of organisations are automating tasks and processes, and 56% are empowering non-technical employees to meet their own needs.
  • IT leaders are being measured on user experience: More than half are now evaluated on employee productivity (58%), while many are also measured on customer experience (55%), cost reduction and optimisation (50%), and employee experience (44%).

Process improvements foster innovation and efficiency

While creating experiences is crucial, a people-centric IT and business strategy needs efficient processes to succeed. Almost half of IT leaders in Australia (56%) think that working processes between IT and business teams could be greatly improved. The report showed:

  • Existing IT processes are a bottleneck: 95% say that existing IT processes are hindering productivity. Process challenges are reported to negatively impact customer experience (95%), technology adoption (99%), innovation (98%) and employee experience (97%).
  • Process improvements are high on the agenda: Over two thirds (39%) of senior IT leaders in Australia say that making process improvements is a major priority for their organization over the next 12 months.
  • Fusion teams for process efficiency: A majority of respondents are looking to create fusion teams to improve processes and address process-oriented challenges. Fusion teams are multi-disciplinary teams that blend workers with technology, analytics, or domain expertise and who share responsibility for business and technology outcomes.

More than two thirds (67%) of Australian organisations surveyed have created or are in the process of rolling out fusion teams, and 29% plan to do so within the next 12 months.

Notably, of organisations with fusion teams already in place, 60% of senior IT leaders in Australia say these teams have been very effective in helping the business meet its goals.

Automation and low- and no-code tools drive efficiency

Empowerment and enablement through technology drives business growth, and organisations are using best-of-breed technologies to create new customer and employee experiences. While this strategy can increase agility, nine out of ten (90%) senior IT leaders in Australia agree that this approach means that their organisation struggles with IT complexity.

  • Integration headaches remain: The majority of senior IT leaders in Australia believe data or system integration projects take too long (75%) and are too expensive (79%).

79% recognise that a lack of data or system integration creates a disconnected customer experience. Consequently, almost all (98%) senior IT leaders in Australia say that new investments are influenced by a tool’s ability to integrate with existing technology.

  • Firms are embracing low- and no-code tools: Many senior IT leaders are turning to low- and no-code tools to enable business users to build and test new experiences. 99% use low- and no-code tools and 34% plan to increase their use over the next 12 months.
  • Automation maturity is growing, but there is room for improvement: Many Australian organisations have implemented automation to enhance CX and product quality.

Almost three quarters of firms (74%) have either mostly or fully automated their operations, and many have introduced similar levels of automation across other business functions — like customer support (69%), sales (65%), finance (62%), marketing (61%), and HR (61%).

What were the executive’s thoughts on the study?

“Shifting economic headwinds are making technology even more fundamental to success across every part of the business, including sales, service, marketing, commerce, and IT,” commented Matt McLarty, Global Field Chief Technology Officer at MuleSoft.

“As IT leaders struggle to fill roles to support this demand, the traditional playbook is in question. IT leaders must look to broader, company-wide process improvements, through automation, that foster innovation, enhance user experiences, and drive efficient growth.”

“The current economic climate leaves IT leaders no choice – they have to do more with less. The tools are there to empower more users to become digital builders, and help their organisations grow while improving efficiency. By automating processes where feasible, leaders can realise value faster and accelerate innovation,” concluded McLarty.