That CTOs should be concerned about cybersecurity and data breaches is perhaps not the biggest surprise. 2022 has seen more data breaches than ever before, and it feels like the impact of a breach is increasing too.
Damage to the brand, paying ransomware costs, time and resources to address the breach, data privacy law penalties – these are all implications that contribute to cybersecurity fears being cited as the main thing keeping CTOs awake at night, according to our recent research, the State of European Dev Ecosystem 2022.
How can CTOs ease cybersecurity concerns while also addressing longer-term issues such as aligning technology with the business objectives in their organisation, a lack of IT resources to manage current projects, and a scarcity of technical talent?
Our research highlighted the severity of the challenges that CTOs are facing. 60% of CTOs believe that technology is not aligned with their organisation’s business objectives. When you factor in that more than one-third of CTOs feel that the rest of the board undervalues the role of the CTO, it’s easy to see being CTO as a thankless task, deprioritised by others.
Then there are more specific challenges. A lack of IT resources to manage current projects, and a scarcity of technical talent were both cited by CTOs as an issue. Although 61% said their IT budget had slightly increased over the previous 12 months, insufficient budget and resources were two of the biggest reasons given for a technology project not getting off the ground.
These issues are all impacting the ability of CTOs to do their jobs effectively and meet internal objectives for technology. 28% said they had seen development projects fail in the past 12 months due to a lack of resources, while more than one in five said they lacked the internal skills and expertise to manage all their development projects.
Plugging this skills gap and ensuring it doesn’t impact an organisation’s ability to deliver is a theme familiar to most CTOs. Getting the broader organisation’s support and aligning technology with business goals is much harder when projects fail, are completed late or over budget.
A lack of tech talent
This year’s Stack Overflow report shows that the median development salary has increased by 23% during the past year, making it harder for CTOs to fill the gaps in their teams. Furthermore, enterprises must support an increasingly wide range of technologies and frameworks, and trying to do so in-house requires a large team, a model that doesn’t work anymore. This is a particular challenge when most of your development has traditionally been done in-house and requires a strong and ongoing investment in training.
Using an augmented team, with in-house developers working in conjunction with external teams, is an approach that can help. It means enterprises can benefit from the most up-to-date skills without the need to maintain such capabilities in their own developers. Such teams are also enterprise-ready in how they work, comfortable with scrum methodology and project management requirements, so they can be deployed according to when a CTO requires them.
Looking outside the organisation for support and resources makes it easier for CTOs to look after their in-house teams. Our research showed the most important element of this was to ensure their team is motivated to work. Motivation is invariably higher when teams aren’t over-stretched, underpaid and asked to work on projects for which they haven’t been fully trained.
CTOs in 2023
2023 is likely to be a challenging year for CTOs, with digital rollouts continuing against a backdrop of business and economic turbulence.
The role of a CTO is demanding, with many different pressures to face up to. Cybersecurity and data breach concerns are important but addressable. Establishing robust processes, educating employees and using the proper preventative measures and monitoring solutions will all help mitigate the risk of a data breach.
Finding the right talent to power digital transformation programmes and aligning tech with business objectives pose sterner challenges. However, adopting a more flexible approach to plugging any skills gaps can address capacity and capability issues, which in turn will help ensure projects remain on track and subsequently bring more alignment between the technology and the business, which is such an essential part of the role.
About the author
Andy Peddar is CEO and co-founder of Deazy, the curated marketplace of development talent that connects enterprises, scale-ups and agencies with high-quality development teams.