Top 5 IT Challenges with Emerging Technology

Nov 29, 2019 by Matt Dixon

There are numerous IT challenges currently facing companies. When emerging technologies are thrown into the mix, organizations have a difficult time making sense of it all. There is so much to do with a finite amount of resources.

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1. IoT

The term IoT refers to any device that is connected to the internet, that can send and receive data without any human interaction. This includes cell phones, smart thermostats, garage door openers, wearable devices, and almost anything else you can think of. I have even seen water heaters that are Wi-Fi enabled. I have always thought of a water heater as a "set and forget" type of device.

The first challenge with IoT will be the installation, configuration, and implementation piece. Someone will have to provision the devices, connect them to the network, and get them up and running. This will require greater networking capacity than before.

The second major challenge is security. IoT security includes access to sensitive data, sabotage or hacked devices, and botnets. IT will have to be vigilant keeping all IoT devices patched and updated, which is a large undertaking. The network should be monitored for anomalies and potentially dangerous traffic. This is by no mean an exhaustive list, rather a couple of major points to consider.

2. Automation

A lot of businesses try to automate repetitive tasks with the intent to improve employee productivity. Automation is a great tool. We have developed a lot of automation solutions for our clients, and it has resulted in tremendous ROI. 

Automation solutions are another system to provision, configure, and monitor. Some automation solutions can result in greatly increased network traffic. Another aspect of these solutions is the maintenance and monitoring of the automation software. Whether it is an off the shelf product or a custom solution, IT will need to know how to monitor and troubleshoot the system.

3. Cloud

The term "Moving to the cloud" sounds so simple, yet there are many implications for this project. It is almost always the case that a cloud-based solution will be more cost-effective in the long run. There are probably aging systems in your organization that should be retired completely, replaced by an off-premise cloud offering. We love the cloud and have greatly cut operating and maintenance costs for our clients by making the switch.

While there is a benefit to moving applications to a cloud-based infrastructure, legacy systems are often deeply integrated into the day to day operations of the business

4. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Many organizations are utilizing some form of Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Machine Learning (ML). The ones who are not yet using AI, plan to use it soon. The top challenge for AI is insufficient skills. Many groups have not had the opportunity to implement AI yet. Anything beyond a simple chatbot is still extremely new. Another challenge is competing priorities. In order to fully implement AI in a part of the organization, alignment must be gained. This is true for any IT initiative. Once the business is fully invested in the project, it is easier to have a successful project.

5. BYOD

With the prevalence of employee devices in the workplace, IT now has to reassess the BYOD policies. It is impossible for any organization now to ignore outside devices. They are bound to make it into the workspace. Embrace it. One benefit of BYOD is the fact that employees are now more connected than ever to their job duties. Many employees will respond to urgent emails after-hours, giving others the information they need to do their job.

The challenges are similar to IoT. Security is the main concern. Employee devices need to be patched and up to date. IT personnel should ensure that those devices can only access what the employee should be able to access.

Bonus: Lack of U.S. Based Talent

The final IT challenge has nothing to do with technology, but the people who help make it work. People are the key to the success of your organization. With the right people in the right spots, you can be unstoppable. 

To overcome the issue, an organization can do several things. First, and easiest, is to use an outside third party to provide quality personnel for their project. Sometimes this is the best solution. If you need a small team for a project once or twice a year, it will be more cost-effective. A second option is to train within your current staff. Skills can be learned, but the employee needs to be passionate about tech. Lastly, organizations can raise salaries for open tech jobs. Potential employees know what they are worth, and it is a competitive landscape. Employers are competing with each other for the best employees.

Summary

We are seeing some tremendous opportunities with emerging technologies. Those opportunities also have challenges associated with them. 

One common thread with all of these challenges involves your team. Your team does not have the skills today to meet all these challenges in the future. None of us do. We have to have a growth mindset and realize that our team must acquire those skills. Ongoing learning and training are critical for success in the future.

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