IT leaders see the talent shortage as the most significant adoption barrier to 64% of emerging technologies, compared with just 4% in 2020, according to a new survey from Gartner. A lack of talent availability was cited far more often than other barriers this year, such as implementation cost (29%) or security risk (7%).
Talent availability is cited as a leading factor inhibiting adoption among all six technology domains included in the survey – compute infrastructure and platform services, network, security, digital workplace, IT automation and storage and database. IT executives cited talent availability as the main adoption risk factor for the majority of IT automation technologies (75%) and nearly half of digital workplace technologies (41%).
“The ongoing push toward remote work and the acceleration of hiring plans in 2021 has exacerbated IT talent scarcity, especially for sourcing skills that enable cloud and edge, automation and continuous delivery,” said Yinuo Geng, research vice president at Gartner.
“As one example, of all the IT automation technologies profiled in the survey, only 20% of them have moved ahead in the adoption cycle since 2020. The issue of talent is to blame here,” he said.
Emerging Technology Investments and Deployments Are Accelerating
Despite talent challenges, IT leaders have increased the adoption of emerging technologies to drive innovation as organizations begin to recover from the pandemic.
Across all technology domains, 58% of respondents reported either an increase or a plan to increase emerging technology investment in 2021, compared with 29% in 2020. Furthermore, IT functions have witnessed a reduction in deployment timelines, with all technologies in deployment expected to reach adoption within the next six to 18 months.
“This indicates that organizations feel more comfortable directly deploying new technologies to accelerate growth, rather than relying on an extended observation period to develop the business case,” said Geng.
In addition, a greater number of leaders (both inside and outside of the IT function) are influencing technology investment decisions this year, driving the trend of “democratized delivery.” In 2021, 82% of IT leaders either agree or strongly agree that enterprise leaders outside of IT influence emerging technology adoption decisions across all technology domains evaluated.
Cloud and Security Technologies Prioritized
Resilience and improving critical IT infrastructure are top priorities among IT leaders in 2021, according to the survey. As a result, they are prioritizing cloud deployments and investments in security technologies.
To allow the smooth movement of information between physical and virtual locations, organizations are investing heavily in creating a strong hybrid cloud base, supported by multicloud technologies. Distributed cloud systems, cloud access security brokers (CASBs) and cloud enterprise resource planning (ERP) are among those reaching the deployment phase in 2021, with respondents stating that resilience is the primary investment driver for 63% of these cloud technologies.
In addition, infrastructure security is a significant priority for organizations as they tackle rising threats, particularly to endpoint devices in hybrid work environments. From 2020 to 2021, the number of security technologies in deployment rose sharply — from 15% to 84% of evaluated technologies. In 2021, 64% of respondents reported that they have either increased or are planning to increase investments in security technologies, up from just 31% in 2020.