UK CTOs’ primary concerns include cybersecurity and AI

UK Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) believe that cybersecurity and data breach vulnerabilities are most likely to keep them awake at night, according to new research from curated developer marketplace platform Deazy.

More than half of UK CTOs were most worried about cybersecurity, with other concerns including a lack of IT resources to manage current projects (44%), the business not being agile enough to maximise value from AI (36%) and a lack of tech talent to work for them (33%).

The research was undertaken for Deazy’s new report - State of Development Landscape and Trends for 2024 - and sought to capture the issues front of mind for CTOs in the UK. It revealed that almost one-third of CTOs had seen their IT budget increase significantly over the past 12 months, a 72% increase from last year. A further 48% said their IT budget had increased slightly.

“Although IT budgets seem to be rising, the cost of doing business is probably higher than it has been in decades, so any budget increases have to be viewed with that in mind,” commented Andy Peddar, CEO, Deazy. “The fact is, CTOs are being asked to do more and more and are struggling to find the resources, finances and talent to do so. Whether protecting the organisation against data breaches or maximising emerging GenAI technologies, CTOs are facing a real shortage of technology talent to achieve their goals.” 

These issues are impacting the ability of CTOs to launch projects effectively. The research showed that things most likely to stop a technology project from successfully getting off the ground are the challenge of managing in-house development capacity (44%) and, despite budget increases, insufficient budget (43%). A lack of support from the senior team was also cited as a significant reason for project failure.

When CTOs try to address the tech talent shortage by looking outside the organisation, they notice several benefits. Chief amongst these is knowledge transference, where internal teams learn from working with people with different skills, experiences and approaches. This was followed by access to developers offering competitive rates (40%) and the ability to work with developers with relevant technical knowledge and industry experience (35%).

“CTOs are under pressure from the rest of the business to see projects through to completion and to ensure technology supports broader organisational goals,” continued Andy Peddar. “But it’s hard to do so when the cost of business is so high, and there's a lack of the right people required to do the job. With pressure mounting ahead to manage and evolve both complex and often legacy tech environments, as well as introducing AI across the business, it’s clear that in the short-term, CTOs need to look beyond their own organisation to plug the technology talent gaps they are facing.”