We are living in an era where our working environment is drastically changing. Technology has become one of the key components of organisations across all types of businesses, whether it's a multinational corporation or an SME, and our reliance will only increase. We are in the midst of another industrial revolution that shows no sign of slowing down and IT firms are reaping the benefits of this.
Recent research has demonstrated the positive effect this innovation has had on the technology industry year-on-year, and it is impressive.
CompTIA recently released the results of its annual IT Industry Outlook report, which surveyed over 500 IT industry executives to see what they predict will be the big trends in the year ahead. The findings make for very positive reading for those within the British technology sector. CompTIA's consensus forecast projects UK industry growth of 4.2 percent in 2017, with potential at the high end for growth of 6.1 percent, and at the low end of 2.2 percent.
While these results are highly positive, we shouldn't be overly surprised by them. Organisations have access to increasingly affordable technology that can vastly improve their business processes. From the rise of mobile working through to the increased capabilities of the Internet of Things, organisations are looking at more ways to harness the digital age, providing an opportunity for technology firms such as resellers to expand their current customer base while reaching new business.
The report also includes a list of trends to watch in 2017, and highlights certain concerns that are now entering the business environment that also provide an opportunity for the IT sector.
One of those concerns, not surprisingly, involves security. At time when security breaches continue to make headlines in the media, and with the General Data Protection Regulations set to come into effect in 2018, organisations need to start preparing and ensuring their information is protected as soon as possible.
As companies look to secure their networks, this provides an opportunity for the technology sector. Globally, 43 percent of those surveyed believe there is the potential for the security category to outperform in the year ahead. Concerns from businesses means they will be looking for solutions and guidance on how to comply with regulations, and finding the best software to keep their data safe means they will be increasingly turning to the IT market for help. This is an opportunity for the industry to both improve national security capabilities while also increasing business in the process.
However, it is not all plain sailing for the technology sector. The skills gap will also continue to be an issue and organisations are having to rethink their workforce strategies in order to find recruits. Thirty percent of UK respondents say that finding workers with expertise in emerging tech fields is a reason for the challenging hiring landscape, while nearly 40 percent say competing with other tech firms for talent is an issue. This is one of the side-effects of our advances in technology; so many organisations are adopting so many new technologies that they need staff who can come in and work with these tools immediately. This means that bringing in an apprentice or young professional and training them to work with devices is being pushed to one side, creating a greater skills gap in the workforce as young people can't enter the industry. The IT sector needs to rethink its strategy when it comes to developing new staff; otherwise this crisis is just going to keep escalating until we are left with a hole that we will be unable to fill.
Technology continues to shape the world we live in, and the IT Industry Outlook report demonstrates that this pattern will continue in 2017 and beyond. We should celebrate the technological revolution and the businesses that are bringing benefits to both inside and outside the IT industry, however we cannot afford to rest on our laurels. There is still much work to be done to ensure that technology is being harnessed and used wisely, whether that's improving security practices or filling the skills gap.