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IT Skills Availability: The Most Likely Disruptor To IT Supply Chains

Friday 10 February, 2023

With IT Skills / Talent Availability ranked the most likely disruptor to IT supply chains in the next three years, are investments being prioritised to address this - and what actions can IT leaders take?

The last few years have seen organisations confronted by a seemingly endless range of disruptions, from geo-political and social instability to cost increases, plus a shortfall in available talent and skills.

Indeed, Coeus Consulting's recent survey of 240 CIOs and senior IT leaders finds more than half of respondents reporting either a high, or very high, likelihood of their organisation being impacted across a wide range of business disruptors (see Fig 1).

The disruptor rated as having the 'highest likelihood' of impacting the organisation’s IT supply chain over the next three years is Skills / Talent Availability (61%), followed by Geo-political & Social Instability (53%).

Fig 1: What is the likelihood of these potential business disruptors impacting your organisation's IT supply chain within the next three years?Blog 1 - Fear of disruption, fig 1 & 2This comes as no surprise; the Digital skills gap is well-reported and expected to cost businesses trillions of dollars by the end of the decade and was a significant challenge throughout 2022. (Fortune online)Furthermore, more than half of those polled stated that the Skills / Talent Availability challenge would have a 'high or very high' impact on the IT supply chain, and consequently, business operations if it occurred.

Are Organisations Investing To Tackle the Skills Challenge?

It is notable that even though Skills / Talent is the chief concern amongst potential supply chain disruptors, it did not feature in the Top 3 investment priorities.

As is evident from Fig 2, there is currently a disconnect: Skills / Talent Availability is expected to have a significant impact on the IT supply chain, yet investment is not being prioritised in these areas. 

Fig 2: What are your investment priorities in response to potential IT supply chain disruption?Investments chart


Indeed, investments that could help address the skills challenge - Skills Resource Ecosystem (5th place), Training & Development (6th), Automation (7th), Retiring Legacy Systems (8th) and Review of end-to-end sourcing strategy (9th) - all come at the bottom of the investment priority list. 

This leads us to conclude that many organisations are expecting that their IT supply chain partners to do the heavy lifting in acquiring and training the required resources, rather than building in-house teams to address the skills gap. 


How Can IT Leaders Address the IT Skills Challenge? 

With the prevailing talent shortfall featuring as a major disruptor, our experts provide some essential steps organisations should pursue to mitigate the risks:
1. Review your Operating Model. Do you have the right mix of in-house and third-party resources to deliver your IT agenda? If there are gaps or overlaps, work out how you will address them either directly or via your IT supply chain.
2. Forget the old mantra of buying outputs from your IT partners and get a bit more probing about the skills and experience they have or are deploying on your account. Don’t be afraid to demand change if you’re not getting the quality as well as quantity you pay for.
3. When engaging new suppliers or awarding new workloads to existing partners, do your homework. Especially in new technology areas, make sure they have strength in depth and aren’t just re-badging their bench resources to learn on the job.
4. Make sure your service metrics and penalties adequately and accurately focus on deployed resources including retention of knowledge / skills on the account, ability to meet forecast demand, churn due to quality concerns etc.
5. Give yourself choice by building flexibility into your eco-system. This is particularly valuable when considering how to leverage talent across multiple IT partners, but you need to set up your agreements to foster / require collaboration.

To read more about actions your peers are taking to mitigate IT supply chain disruption, analysis of how disruptors are causing IT leaders to revisit Sourcing Strategies and expert advice on mitigating the impact of disruptions, view the 2023 CIO & IT Leadership Survey Report:
View Survey Report