Press Release


STAMFORD, Conn., September 13, 2021

Gartner Survey Reveals Talent Shortages as Biggest Barrier to Emerging Technologies Adoption

IT Executives Cited Lack of Talent Ahead of implementation Cost and Security Risks

IT executives see the talent shortage as the most significant adoption barrier to 64% of emerging technologies, compared with just 4% in 2020, according to a new survey from Gartner, Inc.  A lack of talent availability was cited far more often than other barriers this year, such as implementation cost (29%) or security risk (7%).

Talent availability is cited as a leading factor inhibiting adoption among all six technology domains included in the survey – compute infrastructure and platform services, network, security, digital workplace, IT automation and storage and database. IT executives cited talent availability as the main adoption risk factor for the majority of IT automation technologies (75%) and nearly half of digital workplace technologies (41%).

“The ongoing push toward remote work and the acceleration of hiring plans in 2021 has exacerbated IT talent scarcity, especially for sourcing skills that enable cloud and edge, automation and continuous delivery,” said Yinuo Geng, research vice president at Gartner.

“As one example, of all the IT automation technologies profiled in the survey, only 20% of them have moved ahead in the adoption cycle since 2020. The issue of talent is to blame here.”

Emerging Technology Investments and Deployments Are Accelerating

Despite talent challenges, infrastructure and operations (I&O) and other IT leaders have increased the adoption of emerging technologies to drive innovation as organizations begin to recover from the pandemic.

Across all technology domains, 58% of respondents reported either an increase or a plan to increase emerging technology investment in 2021, compared with 29% in 2020. Furthermore, I&O functions have witnessed a reduction in deployment timelines, with all technologies in deployment expected to reach adoption within the next six to 18 months.

“This indicates that organizations feel more comfortable directly deploying new technologies to accelerate growth, rather than relying on an extended observation period to develop the business case,” said Geng.

In addition, a greater number of leaders (both inside and outside of the IT function) are influencing technology investment decisions this year, driving the trend of “democratized delivery.” In 2021, 82% of IT leaders either agree or strongly agree that enterprise leaders outside of IT influence emerging technology adoption decisions across all technology domains evaluated.

Cloud and Security Technologies Prioritized

Resilience and improving critical IT infrastructure are top priorities among I&O and other IT leaders in 2021, according to the survey. As a result, they are prioritizing cloud deployments and investments in security technologies.

To allow the smooth movement of information between physical and virtual locations, organizations are investing heavily in creating a strong hybrid cloud base, supported by multicloud technologies. Distributed cloud systems, cloud access security brokers (CASBs) and cloud enterprise resource planning (ERP) are among those reaching the deployment phase in 2021, with respondents stating that resilience is the primary investment driver for 63% of these cloud technologies.

In addition, infrastructure security is a significant priority for organizations as they tackle rising threats, particularly to endpoint devices in hybrid work environments. From 2020 to 2021, the number of security technologies in deployment rose sharply — from 15% to 84% of evaluated technologies. In 2021, 64% of respondents reported that they have either increased or are planning to increase investments in security technologies, up from just 31% in 2020.

“I&O leaders who do not revise their infrastructure security strategy will face challenges due to the continued rise in the ransomware attack surface for enterprises,” said Geng.

*For editors: The 2021-2023 Emerging Technology Roadmap Survey provides a peer-based view of the adoption plans of over 100 emerging technologies from 437 IT global organizations in North America, EMEA and APAC over a 12- to 24-month time period.

Gartner clients can read more in “2021-2023 Emerging Technology Roadmap for Large Enterprises.” Learn which emerging technologies can help generate ROI in the Gartner Emerging Technologies Roadmap

Learn more in the complimentary Gartner webinar “The Gartner 2021-2023 Emerging Technology Roadmap Findings” on Thursday, October 7, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. ET.

Gartner IT Infrastructure, Operations & Cloud Strategies Conference

Gartner analysts will provide additional analysis on cloud strategies and infrastructure and operations trends at the Gartner IT Infrastructure, Operations & Cloud Strategies Conferences taking place virtually November 22-23 in EMEA, December 1-2 in Japan, and December 6-8 in the Americas. Follow news and updates from these conferences on Twitter using #GartnerIO.

About the Gartner Information Technology Practice

The Gartner IT practice provides CIOs and IT leaders with the insights and tools to drive the organization through digital transformation to lead business growth. Additional information is available at Follow news and updates from the Gartner IT practice on Twitter and LinkedIn using #GartnerIT.


About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) delivers actionable, objective insight to executives and their teams. Our expert guidance and tools enable faster, smarter decisions and stronger performance on an organization’s mission critical priorities. To learn more, visit