Plenty of hot topics are emerging in the IT sector, but for many business, there isn't even time to maintain day-to-day tech workloads, let alone think about innovation. This leaves organizations in a situation where they are forced to scramble to keep up with competitors and become more reactionary than strategic in how they run their IT setups.

This problem could only escalate moving forward, as change is happening at a blistering pace. If you think the way cloud computing, mobile and big data became mainstream quickly was a lot to keep up with, then a new era of innovation fueled by the internet of things and artificial intelligence is about to surprise you. Consistent change over the past few years has pushed many IT departments to change how they work, and new challenges are on the horizon.

For many organizations, keeping up with the pace of innovation can seem nearly impossible when relying on in-house staff. Third-party IT service providers offering everything from consulting to custom app development can prove essential in today's complex IT climate. Organizations considering getting by without third-party IT services should first think about the major issues shaping the industry.

Cybersecurity, regulatory compliance and cloud management get lots of attention, but the tech disruption on the horizon goes deeper. Three IT challenges lurking beneath the surface of the IT sector are:

1. A major skills gap

"Keeping up with the pace of innovation can seem nearly impossible when relying on in-house staff."

When the cloud initially gained popularity, you could look around and find thinkpieces and studies about skills shortages just about anywhere. That discussion hasn't gone away. With businesses becoming more reliant on technology and new solutions emerging at a breakneck pace, the hiring market simply can't keep up.

According to CompTIA, supply in the IT labor force continues to fall below demand, so much so that 2018 could be marked by businesses completely rethinking their hiring practices. At the same time, the industry is grappling with the need to handle diversity better, respond to changes in work expectations and consider how alternative education pathways are impacting the sector.

Tech industry giants may be shaping these conversations around IT employment, but for the average business, simply keeping up with staffing demands is a major challenge. Strategic outsourcing, particularly for specialized tasks such as IT training or custom development, can help organizations get the resources they need without having to navigate the complex hiring environment.

2. Oft-changing expectations
With so many technological transformations happening at once, average business users are increasingly aware of how much the right tech can help them work. An Infiniti Research report pointed out that many organizations will try to build their solutions to the specific needs of their customers, even to the point of customizing existing solutions.

At the same time, the article said that the tech industry is also dealing with struggles incorporating end-user feedback without losing focus on the core vision of a solution.

This balancing act is a common problem for enterprise IT departments. Consider the following scenario:

  • You let users know that you are considering investing in a new database and mobile app solution to solve a specific operational challenge.
  • Employees provide feedback on the features and capabilities they want, but those preferences are different than what the IT department expected the solution to focus on.
  • Management wrestles with the discrepancies in vision and eventually finds a couple of solutions that have the potential to offer the best of both perspectives, but only after extensive customization.
  • You run a pilot of the various solutions to get only entirely different feedback from users on what they want from the platform.

This type of implementation process can be fairly common, even for smaller apps and services. Being able to develop a custom solution can alleviate many of the challenges, creating flexibility and adaptability that isn't possible with an off-the-shelf solution. However, this approach won't solve the conflicting priorities between user groups. This gap is where IT consulting services can be helpful.

Consultants can help you untangle the varying perspectives in your organization, find the middle ground and understand what other businesses in related sectors are doing. This insight can help you make a more informed decision when choosing what features to emphasize whether you are choosing to create a custom app or find the right fit with an existing solution.

3. Finding balance amid change
We've already discussed how quickly the IT world is changing, but this disruption doesn't create just technical challenges; it can also lead to major operational and economic challenges for businesses. The CompTIA report mentioned earlier explained that finding ways to balance incremental change with disruptive transformation is critical as companies try to respond to the current IT climate.

"Managed services can alleviate some of the operational burden on your technology leaders."

In essence, CompTIA advised that companies work to create a cohesive organizational strategy for consistent innovation. It can be tempting to constantly chase after the hot, exciting technologies emerging in the sector, and such transformations are sometimes necessary, but a more balanced approach is typically necessary to find success.

IT consulting and managed services can be beneficial in finding this balance. Consultants who take the time to get to know your business can help you identify the technologies that are worth transforming and create a pathway for gradual growth in other areas. Furthermore, managed services can alleviate some of the operational burden on your technology leaders, giving them more time to focus on your overarching strategies and goals.

Using third-party services to stay on top of IT demands
The current enterprise IT climate is forcing businesses to manage resources with excellence while constantly pushing the envelope further toward innovation. This is a difficult task, especially as organizations need their tech investments to drive value in the bottom line as opposed to simply supporting business units. Partnering with third-party IT service providers can alleviate the strain on IT teams and give them access to the specialized resources they need to keep up with the challenges ahead. MC Services offers a wide range of consulting, development and training resources your business could leverage to get more value from its IT environment.