As companies around the world ramp up their investments in cutting-edge technologies, the demand for knowledgeable and experienced tech experts has continued to grow exponentially. While this transition has been ongoing for more than a decade, many businesses have taken a slow-roll approach to avoid overspending and underutilizing their IT assets. This has created a number of employment opportunities for professionals who have the skills required for digital transformation, such as those with a Master of Science in Management Information Systems. However, building a career in IT management can be challenging without a firm understanding of the current state of technological innovation in modern enterprise environments.
The current state of digital transformation
The push for increased workflow automation and big data analytics has blurred the lines between digital and physical business processes, giving rise to hybrid operational models that are focused on enhancing productivity and decision-making. That said, implementing new technologies requires the right combination of technical expertise and business acumen, which partially accounts for why many companies are lagging behind.
A 2018 survey from IDG found that only one-third of organizations have already begun integrating a digital-first approach into their existing infrastructures. This may come as quite a shock to many in the IT field, as the buzz surrounding “digital business” has received a lot of attention from tech experts over the past few years. So what’s keeping organizations from taking full advantage of the business benefits of digital transformation?
To better understand the obstacles preventing companies from adopting advanced tech solutions, researchers from IDC asked 702 IT and business management decision-makers about their most pressing implementation barriers. The survey identified four key challenges, including:
- Budgetary constraints: The high upfront costs of digital integration has kept many businesses from capitalizing on transformative technologies. This is especially true for IT solutions that require specific hardware, software, and management applications to work effectively. Another concern is that installing and configuring digital assets can require significant downtime, which may lead to declining productivity and missed business opportunities.
- Lack of staff and/or correct skill sets: The rapid pace of innovation in the technology sector has made it difficult for IT managers and technicians to stay informed about every new piece of hardware and software. For example, most internet of things devices have a variety of vulnerabilities that can leave companies open to exploitation and data theft, which is why some organizations have opted out of large-scale implementation. Before these IT assets can be meaningfully adopted, businesses will need to recruit professionals with significant expertise in networking, system architecture, and cybersecurity, along with the skills required for digital transformation.
- Outdated legacy systems: In some cases, an organization’s existing system and network infrastructures may not be compatible with the digital assets they’re planning to integrate. This often forces IT managers to replace outdated hardware, reconfigure device settings, and perform large-scale re-imaging projects to free up storage space. These efforts can be extremely costly and may cause significant disruption to day-to-day operations.
- Cultural issues: While some employees may be excited about the latest advancements in business technologies, it’s often difficult to get everyone on board. The march toward workflow automation and artificial intelligence has many workers concerned about their employment status, which can slow down the integration process if key decision-makers aren’t sold on the business benefits of digital transformation.
These integration barriers underscore the difficulty of helping businesses prepare for a digital-centric future, as any implementation plan must strike a balance between technological and organizational change. What does a successful digital transformation look like?
Defining “digital business”
IDC defines digital business as “the use of third-platform technologies to create value and competitive advantage through new offerings, new business models, and new relationships.” However, the massive number of options available on the open market has made it difficult for IT managers to analyze and locate solutions that perfectly align with their business goals. According to a survey from Infosys, digital technologies are most often utilized in IT management (79%), customer relations (62%), and business process management (60%), with the following innovations standing as key IT solutions in today’s tech-oriented workplaces:
- Big data analytics
- Enterprise cloud storage
- Artificial intelligence
- 3-D printing
The wide adoption of these technologies has had a direct impact on IT director responsibilities, as each new digital asset represents a possible point of failure. As a result, organizations have become increasingly focused on recruiting talented technology experts to manage new deployments, coordinate enterprise-wide upgrades, and balance IT investments, which is where an advanced degree can help.
How an MS in MIS can prepare you for IT director responsibilities
The online Master of Science in Management Information Systems from the University of Alabama at Birmingham offers students a range of unique learning opportunities that can help you prepare for a successful career in IT administration and governance. With courses in technology planning and capital budgeting, data science for business, and systems analysis, you can gain the skills required for digital transformation in a range of professional settings.
Through the MS in MIS program, you can learn how organizations weigh the costs and benefits of technological innovations, develop implementation plans, and integrate digital assets into their existing IT infrastructures. If you’re interested in supporting organizations in their quest for digital transformation, an advanced online degree from UAB can provide the knowledge, experience, and expertise you need to excel.
To learn more about how a master’s degree in management information systems, offered through the Collat School of Business, can enhance your IT career, reach out to an enrollment advisor today.