A new information technology workforce study has confirmed what many IT and data pros have already concluded: their jobs would be so much better if they didn’t have to deal with other people.

Making matters worse, many technology professionals believe they are sorely undervalued in the workplace, and that is in part due to the time they must spend helping users solve problems or to understand the value of data and information.

“As the global economy grows ever more dependent on the fast-evolving IT sector, the perspectives of IT professionals on their challenges and opportunities take on greater weight,” according to a new survey commissioned by Kensington, a worldwide computer accessory company.

The survey of technology professionals in the U.S., UK and Australia was conducted through Spiceworks' "Voice of IT" network. It addresses a broad spectrum of factors crucial to implementing and assessing IT in the business environment: strategy, security, budgets, productivity barriers to improvement, helpdesk commitments, administrative pressures, and time allocation and employee wellness.

“It is the perceived value of IT -- or lack thereof -- that appears to be the subject of the survey's most noteworthy findings. The fact that many IT professionals ‘juggle wearing multiple hats and, dealing with ‘human issues’ in particular,” may detract from the value they are able to deliver to their organizations, according to the survey report.

When asked about the personality they most identify with, 32 percent of survey respondents felt they were most like a firefighter – but, as the report states, "in spending so much time dealing with employee errors and administrative tasks, there’s a chance [IT professionals'] talents are undervalued and underutilized."

Survey respondents also specified their complaints about organizations’ overall commitment to IT -- which ranged from no or low budget allocation and lack of management understanding, to limited training for end-users. Forty-four percent complained that they were hampered by lack of time/resources; 40 percent blamed insufficient budget; 36 percent complained that IT was perceived as a cost, not as an opportunity; and 28 percent grumbled that employees disregard the ‘rules’.

Other key study findings:

Probably no surprise, security was afforded the top budget priority of the IT professionals surveyed, followed by employee connectivity/uptime and employee set up/workspace configuration.

“Human error, lack of process or ‘employees not following’ established processes, and external threats were seen as the biggest IT security risks to organizations,” the study noted. (Employee training is considered a vital component of corporate security -- yet the survey found that just 5 percent of IT professionals' time was allocated to training.)

The survey respondents also cited hardware/ infrastructure refresh and OS updates as important for 2016. “However, big data and cloud technology were acknowledged as higher priorities by companies in Australia compared to businesses in the US and the UK,” the study revealed.

IT professionals reported that they want to spend more time on IT strategy, “but insufficient budget, lack of time/resources, and a prevailing attitude within their organizations that technology is a cost, not an opportunity, are reported barriers.” Improved or upgraded systems and multi-screening/monitors/displays are the most common technology measures implemented specifically to improve performance across all three countries. The U.S. and UK have similar rates of cloud adoption, with roughly one third of organizations having already shifted to some extent, the report explains.

“Organizations in Australia have so far placed more emphasis on BYOD than their counterparts in the U.S. and UK, but US employees are driving change, rather than organizational top-down initiatives,” the study reported.

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