UK IT leaders are the most challenged in Europe, but also the most optimistic about the future, according to a study by Claranet.
While many of these challenges are expected to lessen over the next five years as IT services providers start to manage more of the IT estate, the extent to which they can be solved will depend on how effectively IT leaders can work with their partners, reckons Claranet.
The pan-European research report, which surveyed 900 IT decision-makers from the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal and the Benelux, from a range mid-market organisations, found that the biggest challenges facing UK IT departments are security and compliance (selected by 53% of respondents), optimising IT (50%) and increasing complexity (48%).
They do, however, predict the sharpest drop in terms of the challenges that they expect to face by 2020, which will bring the UK's figures in line with, or below, the European averages.
For example, 50% state that that improving/optimising IT is a challenge today, but just 32% expect it to remain one in 2020. Similarly, the proportion today that expects enabling collaboration across the organisation (39%) is expected to half within five years.
Michel Robert, Claranet's UK MD, said: "It's clear that IT leaders in the UK face, and will continue to face, a wide range of challenges as they look to manage an IT estate that is growing in complexity.
"And while it is encouraging that those in the UK expect these challenges to reduce over the next five years, the degree to which they will can be tackled will depend heavily on the relationships that they can cultivate with their IT services providers. The breadth and depth of the issues currently faced will make trust a critical factor in navigating them.
"Interestingly, improving and optimising IT appears to be a greater focus in the UK than in other parts of Europe, highlighting the opportunity for service providers, like Claranet, to help businesses run their current IT estates and freeing up time to work on aligning innovation options and market opportunities."