IT Project Challenges Facing Businesses This Year (And Beyond)

There is a lot happening in technology today. Not only has the customer experience for almost every organization changed to involve some kind of software or technology, but companies are still trying to wrap their arms around heavy hitting concepts like Big Data, artificial intelligence and securing all of their information in the high-tech digital world business now operates in.

As technology departments continue to identify and adapt into its new role within the enterprise, there seems to be equally as many new challenges arising as there are solutions. Such is the nature of technology; it never stands still and it surely never stays the same.

Staffing and solution providers must be prepared for – and must educate their client companies on – the challenges facing the market. Here are four of the biggest:

Talent. This is nothing new. Outside of information security and management, recruiting and retention is and has been at the top of the hit list for IT leaders for some time now. But, that need is only going to continue to increase as the IT talent market tightens its belt another notch throughout the course of the year.

The national unemployment rate is hovering around four percent (4.1% as of March), and within the information technology and computer sciences sector that number is estimated to be even lower. We are experiencing near 20-year-lows and top IT talent have opportunities at every turn.

While the opportunity for full-time, in-house employment is there, we some candidates are still interested solely in project work. The candidates we see seeking project work are in their prime, and they are looking to be involved with the latest technologies and cutting-edge companies that are going to continue to position them toward success in the IT industry at large, and in their careers. They know, like we know, that it is easy to become outdated.

PREMIUM CONTENT: IT Staffing Growth Assessment

Efficiency. The Project Management Institute pointed out in its ninth Global Project Management Survey that organizations are still wasting an average of $97 million for every $1 billion invested due to poor project performance. Project slip dates, descope and ultimately money loss usually results in unhappy business sponsors and IT departments feeling depleted.

This is the year of project performance improvement – which we are already starting to see through things like the PMI survey – and it will also be the year of efficiency as organizations look to tackle the ugly stats that have been plaguing IT projects for years. The organizations that prioritize this and ultimately end up in a more mature project state are the ones to look out for in the second half of the year and beyond. They will be unstoppable.

Experience. The hot-button topic in IT, in general, is around customer experience. As it relates to IT projects specifically, herein lie both the challenge and the opportunity – and it will be the focal point of the initiatives IT teams are tasked with this year and beyond.

Quality assurance project teams are defending the business requirements that will result in and prioritize the customer experience, which for them includes not just the consumer of the product or service of the organization but also the people within the company as well.

Technology is meant to transform, streamline, quicken and make better – especially for those within the enterprise and even more so for the customer – and that is exactly what IT teams are being challenged with at the onset of 2018.

Critical Thinking. Arguably the biggest IT project challenge businesses face right now is not just getting people into their open seats, but in getting the right people in them. With daunting enterprise-wide initiatives for 2018 falling under the IT umbrella of responsibilities, like how a customer will navigate and ultimately buy from a company, IT projects are in dire need of critical thinkers who demonstrate a high level of emotional intelligence.

Organizations need project managers, business analysts, developers and quality assurance teams that are going to handle their individual project tasks but who are then going to also look outside of their lanes to ensure optimization, practical application and quality in their deliverables.

Businesses need project resources that are going to ask:

  • Is there a way to apply this to another business unit?
  • What impacts will this have on the user, customer and on the business as a whole?
  • As a subject-matter expert, what possible solutions can I generate to solve project inefficiencies?

As staffing and solution partners to these organizations, it will continue to be important to educate client companies on the challenges facing the market.

Equally as important will be the ability to provide project resources, whenever possible, who are demonstrative of strong hard and soft skill traits that will lend themselves to the project at hand and beyond – I recently wrote about making these critical hires in this article, Hiring Exceptional Employees Through Behavioral Science.

The future continues to be bright in IT, and the challenges the industry faces when it comes to the key projects these teams are being tasked with are also huge areas of opportunity – where the right people and the right solutions will continue to transform and lead the industry.

MORE: Building the IT talent pipeline beyond the H-1B Visa

Seth Burr

Seth Burr
Seth Burr is COO and co-founder at LABUR

Seth Burr

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