NHS technology leaders lack skills needed for innovation, study shows

SolarWinds’ annual IT Trends Report reveals Cloud First policy is being adopted more extensively, but 71% of public-sector technology chiefs feel unable to manage future innovations

  • SolarWinds announces findings of its IT Trends Report 2019
  • Survey reveals that 84% of UK public-sector technology practitioners, managers and directors selected cloud and/or hybrid IT as the most-important factor for their organisation’s technoloy transformation over the next 3-5 years
  • However, 71% say they will be unable to confidently manage future innovations
  • Over 50% feel unequipped to successfully implement and manage AI with their current skill set, despite nearly a third listing this technology as one of the most important for transformation
  • Nearly 60% are looking to prioritise technology innovations to meet their career development goals
  • Over 70% lack the time and budget for training that would help them to advance their skill sets
  • NHS and other public-sector technology leaders need to improve their skillset in order to make the most of emerging technologies

    NHS technology leads may lack the skills needed to realise the vision of a fully-digital health service, a new report warns.

    SolarWinds today released the findings of it IT Trends Report 2019: Skills for Tech Pros of Tomorrow report; an annual study of the state of skills and career development for public-sector technology professionals.

    And it found that while technology professionals have prioritised systems and infrastructure, security management, and hybrid IT skills development over the past 12 months; when it comes to the next three to five years, they are looking to develop skills in areas they are currently falling short in. These include security management and data science and analytics.

    But they also warned that, without improvement in time and budget constraints, the majority – 71% of those surveyed – would be unable to confidently manage future innovation.

    Tech pros have an appetite to prioritise career development on a weekly basis, but are hindered by factors like time and cost

    This reality ultimately puts NHS performance and its goal of becoming paperless within a year at risk, making the prioritisation of skills and career development for technology professionals paramount.

    “Recent history has proven that there is a direct correlation between technology and how the public sector serves and protects its constituents,” said Joe Kim, executive vice president and global chief technology officer at SolarWinds.

    “The results of this year’s report highlight that organisations need to focus even more on developing these professionals charged with running and pioneering technologies.

    “By removing day-to-day barriers, arming technology pros with the right technology and management tools, and prioritising skills and career development in the IT budget, they can be better equipped for the future and help ensure the stability of the institutions we depend on.”

    He added: “The findings are in line with our view that the most-critical problem we need to help tech professionals to solve today is the reality of the hybrid IT landscape.

    The SolarWinds report shows the innovations technology professionals feel the most ill equipped to successfully implement or manage with their current skillset

    This applies to all tech pros whether on-premises, managing hybrid infrastructures, SaaS-based, or MSPs.”

    The study found that, when it comes to the idea of implementing or managing specific technologies, emerging technology is a pain point.

    The top three technologies public-sector technology leads feel unequipped to manage with their current skillsets are: Blockchain (56%); AI (51%); and Quantum computing (49%).

    And they say the most-important technologies for their career development are Cloud and/or hybrid IT (66%); SIEM and/or threat intelligence (56%); and automation and/or orchestration (52%).

    When it comes to career development goals over the next three to five years’ tech pros will look to prioritise technology innovation (59%); people management (43%); and strategic planning (39%).

    The results of this year’s report highlight that organisations need to focus even more on developing these professionals charged with running and pioneering technologies

    “Tech pros have an appetite to prioritise career development on a weekly basis, but are hindered by factors like time and cost”, says the report.

    Nearly 80% of those surveyed say their day-to-day IT tasks extend into time earmarked for career development, with 31% saying this always happens.

    They cite time and availability (45%) and cost (29%) as the biggest barriers affecting their current ability to participate in IT skills training and career development programmes.

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