Are IT Staffing Issues Delaying New Technology?

By CIO Update Staff

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Do your company's computers still use floppy disk drives or take 20 minutes to boot up? Probably not but, if you are (or even if it just feels like you are), a new survey shows you might be alone. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of CIOs interviewed by Robert Half Technology (RHT) said IT staffing (or lack of) in their company's IT department interferes at least somewhat with their ability to implement innovative or emerging technologies.

CIOs were asked, "To what extent, if any, does understaffing in your IT department affect your company's ability to implement innovative or new technologies?" Their responses:

Significantly 16% Somewhat 48% Not at all 34%

"Implementing new technologies companywide often requires substantial staff and unique skill sets that many IT departments don't have immediately available," said Dave Willmer, executive director of Robert Half Technology, in a statement. "As appealing and beneficial as these technologies are, companies often push them to the back-burner because their IT departments are already understaffed.

"Companies should carefully weigh the pros and cons of delaying a technology implementation or upgrade, especially if the project will increase productivity or create new business opportunities."

RHT offers the following tips for companies facing an IT staffing shortage:

Ask for updates - If you aren't already doing so, ask IT employees to provide workload updates. This will help to ensure their to-do lists are manageable and determine if current tasks can be redistributed, potentially freeing up time for new technologies.

Get employees involved - Seek input on ways to better manage workloads and ask staff members to brainstorm creative ways to solve everyday challenges. Having a say in the outcome of a project motivates personnel to do their best work.

Take stock of current skills - Do the employees in your department have the necessary skills to implement an emerging technology you're considering? If not, what skills are needed, and would it be worthwhile to train staff on a new platform?

The national survey was developed by RHT, a provider of IT professionals on a project and full-time basis, and conducted by an independent research firm. The survey is based on more than 1,400 telephone interviews with CIOs from a random sample of U.S. companies with 100 or more employees. In order for the survey to be statistically representative, the sample was stratified by geographic region, industry and number of employees. The results were then weighted to reflect the proper proportions of the number of employees within each region.