Digital transformation is en vogue and spending on the rise, but building the right team remains a challenge

The need for digital talent is outstripping its ranks. (scyther5/Getty Images Plus)

Digital transformation—the idea that technology can evolve process and operational improvements to a point where they drive strategic decision making and, eventually, dollars—is a concept most CEOs can get behind. And if Under Armour’s recent earnings call is any indication, the risk of not getting one’s digital shop in order is too great.

The company cited challenges setting up a new enterprise resource planning solution as part of the reason for its drop in earnings, as well as "operational challenges," without being more specific.

More companies are seeing enterprise technology implementations as something that can make or break their overall success. Businesses worldwide are expected to spend more on digital transformation projects in the coming year. A new report from IDC predicts a 42% increase on such work from 2017 to 2019.

Despite this investment momentum, IDC predicts only 40% of organizations will have their digital leadership positions filled by the end of next year. These challenges trickle down through the staff as well.

More than three-quarters of CIOs say it's difficult to find professionals with up-to-date digital skills and their teams are at least somewhat understaffed, according to new research from Robert Half Technology.

"Technology teams help drive many of the digital initiatives that organizations are putting in place, but the demand to keep up can outpace their ability to adequately staff projects," said John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology, in a press release.

The staffing firm polled more than 2,500 CIOs in the United States and tapped insight from those who lead digital transformation at their companies for the report. More than half of the CIOs surveyed said their department is somewhat or severely understaffed, and they see the highest priority for talent in the following four areas:

  • Programming and systems analysis,
  • Business analysis,
  • Security and
  • Project management.