Global tech teams rewarded by post-pandemic performance

Businesses are reaping the rewards of digital transformation introduced after the Covid-19 lockdowns, according to a new KPMG report, but key issues remain

The post-pandemic surge in technology investment and innovation has given organisations new confidence to revitalise business through tech innovation, says a new report by KPMG.

Almost all global tech leaders reported their digital evolution had improved performance and profitability over the last two years, according to the KPMG Global Tech Report 2022.

But despite this upbeat momentum, the KPMG survey of more than 2,200 technology executives and industry experts found there are still obstacles, including key skills gaps and cybersecurity concerns.

Cyber security teams are under pressure to keep up with evolving threats, with talent shortages frequently undermining security efforts, KPMG found. Businesses reported that a lack of key skills is the top issue preventing them from meeting their cyber security goals. 

Over half (58%) admit they are behind schedule on cyber security, which KPMG says should be a reminder to most companies they must maintain momentum in cyber projects to ensure they are not exposed to cyber risks.

Organisations that are extremely effective see the highest ROI from implementing digital technologies and see cultural obstacles as a more pressing challenge than consensus from the market average.

Technology teams must tackle the talent crisis, says KPMG

The talent crisis is not going to resolve itself, says KPMG, especially when it comes to in-demand skills in new and emerging technologies. For technology teams, the short-term challenge is likely to worsen as companies consider putting a freeze on new hires and review hiring plans to mitigate the impact of economic uncertainty.

Forward-thinking businesses are reworking their approaches to hiring and training specialists, and long-term talent strategies should encourage organisations to widen their perspectives. Outreach programs with colleges and universities can educate and inspire individuals approaching entry-level jobs to develop the most in-demand skills, they recommend. 

The most digitally mature companies also ensure their success does not create a culture of perfectionism that stifles innovation. “If you attempt to achieve a 100% level of certainty over everything, you are hoping for a false level of precision,” Standard Chartered Bank’s Rowena Everson told KPMG as part of the study. “All this will do is paralyse experimentation in the business, which will ultimately paralyse growth. The only answer is to ensure that transformation and investment strategies can adapt.”

This involves moving away from traditional investment frameworks that are structured to achieve benefits at the very end of the initiative, but Everson says companies should aspire to achieve objectives on the way to this final objective. 

“Set your program objectives to have an ultimate outcome but acknowledge upfront that the actual path you take could deviate from initial expectations,” says Everson. “This allows you to pivot as you progress and bank wins as you go.”

However, it remains important to recognise some roads taken may turn out to be “dead ends”, she says.  “If you have this practice of breaking down your ultimate end-goals into achievable objectives on the route then you can access beneficial outcomes, even if you decide that either your original investment strategy has been superseded by the external environment or your business goals have changed,” says Everson.

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