Chief information officers and IT managers say skills gaps in the IT department are hampering businesses' change management programmes, research has revealed.

The survey of 135 IT leaders carried out by CIO Connect found that 73% felt that change management programs in their organisations were being impeded by a lack of skills in their own IT department.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of those surveyed said they had to introduce new leaders into projects to ensure that programmes were successful.

Glyn Evans, CIO of Birmingham city council, said: "This research highlights the important requirement for increased training for IT leaders and their teams in the field of change management.

"IT departments are today at the heart of successful change management programs but the leadership and communication skills required to achieve success has, until very recently, not been emphasised enough."

Just over half of the survey respondents said they would be increasing investment in training over the next 12 months to ensure staff could contribute more in change management programmes. Less than 4% said investment in training was being cut.

The survey also asked IT leaders to rate their organisations' ability to tackle a range of specific change management challenges. The most widespread problem identified was "overcoming the restrictions of any silo-based business process," with half the respondents saying their capability to deal with this was at the low end of the scale.

The next most difficult issues were "winning over sceptics by selling the benefits of a proposed change" and "communicating the nature of project changes to stakeholders".

But most IT leaders felt they were fairly capable of estimating and analysing the impact and requirements of change programmes and at identifying the resources and skills needed to drive the initiatives forward.