South Africa’s IT sector is at a crossroads – one complicated by skills and integration conundrums, compounded by the constantly changing role of IT.

This is one of the findings of a local study by Citrix, which polled CIOs and CTOs at major South African businesses about the things that keep them awake at night.

The apparent lack of IT skills across the country – in particular the skills required to support and maintain emerging technologies such as virtualisation, networking and cloud services – is a pressing issue that has to be addressed quickly. Failure to do so will effectively jeopardise the country’s ability to innovate, grow and emerge as a flourishing centre of business. Choosing the right path is key.

“In short, South Africa is at a technological crossroads. Connectivity is improving, and consumer devices are infiltrating the enterprise. Things are changing for the better,” says Johnny Karam, regional vice –president: Middle East and Africa at Citrix.

“The report insight, above all else, demonstrates a dedicated, talented cross section of senior IT decision-makers conscious of the desire to innovate and excel, as South Africa continues to evolve and transform into a
hub integral to the advancement of Africa.”

The report finds that a lack of skills is set to jeopardise the South African IT industry, with the IT community sounding a stark warning that local IT professionals run the risk of being superseded unless they “skill up” fast.

Respondents indicated that the government has to take responsibility for introducing a new generation of IT professionals.

The cloud is also causing issues. Cloud computing is no longer just hype, with 70% of businesses now trialling cloud technologies. However, 50% of respondents are reluctant to move services to the cloud, with data security seen as the biggest hurdle to cloud adoption.

At least 60% of the interviewees are experiencing bring your own device (BYOD) within their organisations at present – although none of them have a formal policy for managing its adoption. In addition, security and compliance issues prevail in the implementation of BYOD, despite a plethora of secure solutions available.