What being IT ready actually means in the current digital ecosystems

The meaning of ‘IT readiness’ for the modern firm has changed. Today, every firm is digital and because of this, ensuring IT systems can deliver the resiliency and continuity required for today’s digital landscape is critical. The C-suite is adopting a strategic focus on IT readiness, recognising the need for firms and CIOs to be better equipped to address new realities.

What is the current digital landscape?

Preparedness, or IT readiness, means the ability to have a comprehensive understanding of the digital landscape, continue operations despite disruptions and deliver consistent innovation to further business goals. However, IT teams are battling to remain not only innovative, but to function effectively against significant disruptions. In Australia, the most difficult of which are digital skills gaps, cybersecurity threats and rising digital complexity.

Although they appear difficult to overcome, there are solutions that can be implemented right now. Here’s what you need to know about the key challenges affecting the Aussie market.

The technology skills gap continues to control business outcomes

Within Australia, the state of the workforce has been defined by the fallout of the Great Reshuffle, which has prompted employee attrition and overall shortages of in-demand skills.

Among tech firms, leaders are struggling to fill the roles needed to keep pace with increasing digital innovation and new tech. According to research, 44% of managed service providers (MSPs) in ANZ have experienced significant employee turnover in the last 12 months.

Organisations are now finding themselves locked in a battle for talented workers, with many looking to entice prospective employees through offering remote work and moderate increases in salaries. While a proactive strategy, the reality is that organisations need to weigh the benefits of relying solely on hiring external talent to plug skills gaps.

The process of attracting, onboarding and training employees not only takes away valuable time and resources from advancing goals, but research shows once an engineer quits, it can take 4 months for ANZ MSPs to fill engineering roles from job posting to first day of work.

Instead, consider your existing workforce as an untapped pipeline of talent. It’s clear employees are eager to upskill to align with not only business strategy, but for their personal career goals. Seventy three per cent of Aussie tech professionals have stated their firms’ willingness to dedicate resources for tech skills development affects their plans to stay.

Prioritising the experience of employees in the same way organisations approach the customer experience means investing in a culture where people feel valued and empowered.

It’s critical to go beyond a superficial commitment, installing a measurable set of criteria to hold your organisation accountable and create opportunities for innovative work. Through tech like AI, companies can free employees from manual, routine tasks. This way there can be more time and effort in focusing on upskilling and later on, more meaningful work.

Don’t become complacent in your cybersecurity strategy

According to LogicMonitor’s 2021 IT Observability Research Report, 67% of Australia and New Zealand IT leaders surveyed substantially increased their investments in data security. Much of this investment can be attributed to the ongoing battle against malicious actors, which have continued to thrive within the complexities of an expanding IT stack.

With IT and security teams busier than ever, reducing pressure is critical to closing security defense gaps. Consider how your organisation can improve efficiency and alleviate workload stress by automating tasks. Seventy per cent of ANZ IT leaders have already taken steps in the right direction by substantially increasing their investments in technologies ranging from Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations, or AIOps, to employee machine learning (ML).

Given that hybrid infrastructures hold resources in a blend of cloud and on-premises data centres, the 360-degree perspective available through AIOps is a critical aid, especially with the limitations of most security products who specialise in monitoring one or the other. This creates gaps in observability across firms that can lead to a lag in responding to alerts.

Time is not on your side – the need for real time proactivity vs reactivity

Key to being on the front foot of these challenges is taking a proactive stance by leveraging real time insights to control the enormous complexity and volume of data that an organisation creates. Unified observability is often overlooked by business leaders when considering their approach to IT readiness. After the past few years, many are dealing with a network of disparate monitoring tools leading to both financial and time inefficiencies.

The ability to evaluate the health of the information technology infrastructure through a single pane of glass is essential to evolving an IT team from reactive to proactive, and having a proactive team has never been more important. Take industries like healthcare, which have faced the need to pivot to remote platforms like e-health and telehealth.

Practitioners have faced fragmented, and complicated methods to obtain patient records. Not only this, but growing compliance challenges and costs around the transfer, storage and management of sensitive patient information has meant costs have continued to mount.

Increasingly, healthcare organisations like Bupa are seeking out new technology, new systems and solutions to address these problems and to go beyond reactive monitoring.

Many are recognising the benefits of tool consolidation as a key aspect of their future readiness plans. By streamlining operations, automating time-consuming processes and improving IT efficiency, reducing the need for information technology professionals to switch between tools to gain insight into issues will be critical to optimising the company’s services.

As today’s organisations continue to grow and evolve, being IT ready means understanding the challenges disrupting the delivery of business outcomes. To get ahead, CIOs will need to drive open discussions within teams, leaders and with clients to evaluate preparedness, build plans for optimisation and only then, adopt the tools needed to carry out improvements.

Richard Gerdis is the Vice President & General Manager, Asia Pacific & Japan at LogicMonitor.