Talent shortage is leading obstacle to digital transformation, report finds

29 Sep 2022

Image: © Dmitry Kovalchuk/Stock.adobe.com

A KPMG report surveyed 2,200 global executives to get a better idea of the tech trends and challenges facing businesses today.

More than two-thirds of global businesses will embrace emerging technologies in areas such as Web3, the metaverse and quantum computing within the next two years, a new KPMG report has found. But ongoing talent shortages could complicate the adoption of this tech.

Despite high inflation and economic uncertainty looming over many businesses across the world, the KPMG Global Tech Report 2022 published today (29 September) found that there is a strong appetite among executives to invest in new technologies.

In a survey more than 2,200 tech executives across the globe, it found that 67pc of businesses are set embrace emerging areas of technology such as crypto, the metaverse, Web3, NFTs, quantum computing, VR/AR, 5G and edge computing by 2024.

While nearly all (99pc) business agreed that they have benefited from digital transformation, more than half (58pc) reported that they are “behind schedule” on cybersecurity. Nine out of 10 businesses, however, said they are “advanced” in their adoption of cloud systems.

The talent shortage has emerged as the leading challenge facing businesses across the world and complicating the adoption of emerging technologies.

Demand for talent has been outstripping supply in sectors such as IT and cybersecurity, while a recent Dell Technologies survey in Ireland suggested that businesses see people as their most important asset when it comes to driving digital transformation.

The KPMG report also found that improving customer experience was top of the agenda for more than half of the businesses going through digital transformation.

“Customer experience is substantially motivating enterprise investments in IT and is becoming synonymous with digital transformation,” said Barry Brunsman, global leader of CIO Center of Excellence at KPMG International.

“Tech strategies are anchored to creating loyalty-winning experiences, to safeguard income and encourage high levels of repeat revenue from customers.”

Confidence high but challenges many

Most tech leaders surveyed are confident about what they can achieve through digital transformation and their ability to capitalise on technologies. Two-thirds of respondents believe they are either “extremely” or “very” effective in using tech to advance their business strategies.

Sedef Gavaz of the UK’s Natural History Museum, who was one of the respondents in the report, said that she sees potential in the metaverse to “completely transform” the museum experience.

“Every technology investment needs to ladder back up to your strategy and mission, and the metaverse fits very comfortably within one our strategy pillars: reaching and engaging the widest audience,” said Gavaz, who is the head of digital product at the museum.

While lack of talent in areas such as data science and engineering was cited by 44pc of respondents as one of the biggest challenge for businesses, the high cost of adding new systems and talent was the second most commonly reported challenge (32pc).

This was followed by lack of skills to implement or fully take advantage of new systems (29pc), sub-optimal data management (28pc) and a risk-averse corporate culture that is slow to embrace change and disruption (24pc).

Cybersecurity teams are also finding it challenging to keep up with a dynamic and evolving threat environment, the report found, with the talent shortage further exacerbating the issue.

“Companies must remember they are not just exposing their own businesses, but also the privacy of their customers,” said Phil Fersht, CEO of analyst firm HFS Research. “You have a duplicated, highly negative impact if that information is leaked or gets hacked.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic