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It’s no surprise shifting expectations from employees, who want to use consumer devices and apps in the workplace, are leaving a permanent mark on business processes. As we’ve seen from the respective studies, more businesses recognize that IT holds an important key to success, and IT pros need to be prepared to take on new levels of responsibility within the business strategy.

 

It's clear the days of IT pro’s limited impact on business are long gone. As Suaad Sait mentioned in last week’s post, the day of the old IT is behind us – bring on the New IT!

 

On that note, let’s take a closer look at the UK, Australia, and Germany survey key findings. Over the coming month, we’ll see further research from Brazil.

 

UK survey findings

 

The evolution of technology means that IT professionals must adapt their skill-sets and levels of responsibility in order to cope with the demands of emerging and disruptive technologies.

  • One in four of those surveyed suggested that BYOx is the emerging technology that is most disruptive to business.
  • Mobility, cloud computing, data analytics and compliance round up the top five emerging technologies.
  • Over 50 per cent of respondent suggest that cloud/SaaS and information security are the top IT skill-sets that will be in high demand over the next three to five years, followed by mobile apps and device management.

 

Increased infrastructure complexity also means disruptive technology and new IT skills are required to effectively manage networks and systems.

  • More than 50 per cent of IT pro’s view information security and cloud as the top IT skillsets that will grow in demand over the next three to five years.
  • BYOx ranked first when survey respondents were asked which emerging technology is the most disruptive to business.

 

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Modern IT professionals are now expected and must be prepared to help their companies make informed, strategic business decisions with regard to emerging technologies.

 

  • 97 per cent of all IT pros are confident that they can provide the guidance and expertise necessary to help their company make informed decisions with regards to emerging technologies
  • While 97 percent of survey-takers said they feel at least somewhat confident in their ability to provide such advice, only one-third of those are completely confident in doing so
  • To feel more empowered to provide strategic advice, slightly more than half of respondents said they need more training in their area(s) of responsibility, and nearly 40 percent said they need a better understanding of their company’s overall business

 

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Technology’s rise in importance as a core business component may have only been outpaced by the complexity it created. This increasing infrastructure complexity has affected the role of nearly all IT professionals.

 

  • Over half (53%) of all IT departments now manage virtualisation, mobility, compliance, data analytics, SDN/virtual networks, BYOx, cloud computing and self-service automation
  • 40 per cent of respondents said increasing complexity has greatly affected their responsibilities over the past three to five years, and an additional 49 per cent said it has somewhat affected their role

 

Australian survey findings

 

IT’s role in strategic business decisions

  • Ninety-nine per cent of respondents said they are given the opportunity to provide the guidance and expertise necessary to help their company to make informed, strategic business decisions in this area.  But the majority (70 per cent) have the opportunity to do so only occasionally, or rarely.
  • Ninety-six per cent said they feel at least somewhat confident in their ability to provide such advice, while 44 per cent said they are completely confident in doing so.
  • To feel more empowered to provide such advice, almost half of respondents said they need more training in their area(s) of responsibility.  Nearly 44 per cent said they need a better understanding of their company’s overall business.

 

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Demand for new skillsets

  • More than 50 per cent of those surveyed said cloud computing and information security top the list of IT skillsets that will grow in demand over the next three to five years. Business analytics followed.
  • Respondents said information security is the IT role that will need to adapt the most to evolving technology over the next three to five years.
  • Cloud computing ranked as the most important technology for businesses to invest in to remain competitive for the next three to five years. Mobility, data analytics, virtualisation (server or desktop), self-service automation and BYOx followed suit, in that order.

 

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Other findings

  • Over half of all IT departments now manage virtualisation, mobility, compliance, cloud computing, BYOx, SDN/virtual networks, data analytics and self-service automation.
  • Forty-seven per cent of respondents believe that increasing complexity has affected their responsibilities greatly over the past three to five years, while 42 per cent said it has affected their role somewhat.

 

 

German survey findings

 

IT professionals were asked how the role of IT has changed in Germany over the past five years, and what requirements must they meet to keep pace with technological developments. Their responses show that the IT landscape has undergone major changes in recent years.

  • The IT infrastructure of German companies is becoming increasingly complex due to new technologies such as virtualization, mobility and cloud. Accordingly, the role and responsibilities of the IT professionals has also changed and adapted to the technical developments in the past three to five years. This was confirmed by 97 per cent of the respondents.

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  • Almost half (45 per cent) of those surveyed indicated that they need more training in order to look after their responsibilities adequately. Only one-third (36 per cent) believe that their professional skills are sufficient. A further third said they need a better understanding of business processes.

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Brazilian Survey Findings

 

Brazilian IT pros have increasing, but still limited opportunities to help their companies make informed, strategic business decisions.

  • Over 30 percent of all IT pros define the “New IT” environment as a broader partnership/better relationship with the business.
  • One hundred percent of respondents said they were given opportunities to provide the guidance and expertise necessary to help their company make informed, strategic business decisions with regard to emerging technologies. Some are more confident in this involvement than others:

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To feel more empowered to provide business advice, nearly 60 percent of respondents said they need more training in their areas of responsibility and half said they need a better understanding of their companies’ overall business. Where should Brazilian IT pros focus that training? Most say they will prioritize cloud and SaaS management.

 

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Most IT pros face a number of challenges managing and modernizing their IT infrastructures – budgets, bandwidth, and bosses often hinder progress – and IT pros in government often face these challenges at an even more exaggerated level. However, SolarWinds has noticed that many public sector IT pros are addressing these challenges by automating technologies in their IT infrastructure. We set out to learn how the automation is going so far. In our recent survey of 162 IT pros from federal and state/local government, we learned the importance of automating technology and the restrictions and red tape that often get in the way of that progress.

 

Key Findings:

 

Where are federal IT pros in the automation process? Some have yet to automate anything, but most are somewhere in the process of evaluating technologies, implementing them, or have already completed implementation. In fact, more than two-thirds of survey respondents said they are already in the process of implementing a variety of technologies and 63 percent of respondents are planning an automation project during 2014.

 

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Federal IT pros who have automated some or all of their information technologies have already begun to realize real ROI from their automated IT deployments. More than 84 percent of survey respondents said the automation of information technologies in their IT infrastructures was a time- and money-saving investment for their teams, and 67 percent of respondents have seen increases in their teams’ productivity as a result of investments in automation.

 

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The automation tools that provide the most overall benefit in terms of time/money saved are:

• 58.3% Network Configuration Management

• 41.7% Help Desk

• 38.8% IP Address Management (including IPv6)

• 36.6% App/Server Provisioning/Config Management

• 23.7% Storage Management

• 22.3% Virtualization Management

• 20.1% Patch Management and Compliance Reporting

• 18.0% Business Process/Work Automation

• 9.4% Log Management

• 7.9% Mobile Device Management

 

So what’s the holdup for the others? And why aren’t IT shops automating everything? As always, lack of budget and lack of training play a part.

 

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Even with these roadblocks, though, IT pros in the public sector continue to recognize the importance of streamlining IT. With the breadth of IT management software vendors available, it’s now up to Federal IT pros to identify the most pressing challenges in their IT infrastructures and to find the right automated technologies to simplify those challenges. Luckily, with such strong evidence that automation saves time and money and increases productivity for government organizations, the case to automate is pretty clear.

 

Full Survey

 

No one said it better than the great Bob Dylan. Indeed, for IT pros, “the times they are a-changin’.”

 

That is by far and away the prevailing message from the results of our recently conducted New IT Survey, which provides an in-depth look at the evolving role of IT, including its drivers, needed skillsets and how IT pros view their role within what can be called the new IT environment.

 

As technology has grown in scale and power, influencing the way we work, play and communicate, the role of the IT professional has become increasingly important. The day of the old IT is behind us; we’re now in an age where IT pros are more than simply a technical resource, they’re heroes. Indeed, behind every successful business is a team of great IT pros.

 

However, as the survey highlights, being a hero isn’t easy. Today’s IT pros are universally affected by increasing infrastructure complexity, and the need to adapt to disruptive technologies and acquire new IT skillsets are the name of the game. Not to mention the fact that IT pros are now being called on to step outside the comfortable confines of their technical world and help their companies make informed, strategic business decisions.

 

Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the survey’s North America key findings. You can check out additional results across the globe here.

 

North America Key Findings

  1. Technology’s rise in importance as a core business component may have only been outpaced by the complexity it created. This increasing infrastructure complexity has affected the role of nearly all IT professionals.
    • Ninety-four percent of IT pros agree that infrastructure complexity has affected their role over the past three to five years
    • Over 50 percent of all IT departments now manage virtualization, mobility, compliance, data analytics, SDN/virtual networks, BYOx, cloud computing and self-service automation
  2. Among the results of this IT evolution, IT professionals are now expected and must be prepared to help their companies make informed, strategic business decisions with regard to emerging technologies.
    • Ninety-nine percent of IT pros are given the opportunity to at least occasionally provide guidance to help their companies make strategic business decisions with regard to emerging technologies’
    • Ninety-five percent of IT professionals feel at least “somewhat confident” in their ability to provide such advice; though only 1/3 are completely confident in doing so
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  3. Increased infrastructure complexity also means disruptive technology and new IT skills are required to effectively manage networks and systems.
    • More than 50 percent of IT pros view information security and cloud as the top IT skillsets that will grow in demand over the next three to five years
    • BYOx ranked first when survey respondents were asked which emerging technology is the most disruptive to business

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Full North America Survey

The storage admin doesn’t always have the most glamorous life.  They typically have responsibility for all the storage arrays and infrastructure supporting the most critical systems for the company, from virtualization, to applications and databases. A lot of people get upset when there is a storage problem.  There has also been a shift over the last few years. As the cost of storage has dropped, the primary storage issue has shifted from disk space to the storage I/O – essentially how fast data can be read or written to the storage media. This becomes critically important for application performance especially in the high performance world of databases and I/O intensive activities like virtualization.

 

The other key trend is around virtualization and flexibility of application infrastructure.  When most applications were hard-wired to physical servers and the servers to dedicated storage, storage load was much more predictable and steady. Now with things like vMotion and high performance VMs capable of running large workloads like virtualized databases, I/O can change quickly.

 

That is where the Clark Kent analogy comes in.  The storage admin doesn’t always get the most respect (maybe Rodney Dangerfield would be better). Even though they can be the critical link in application performance, they are often not consulted before changes occur in the virtual or application environment.  Things are often just changing too fast.  So while they have responsibility for an increasingly mission critical resource, storage I/O load changes often come at them out of the blue with little warning or interaction for other teams.  Don’t worry; they still get the blame when the storage systems result in application performance problem.

 

But there is a potential phone booth on the horizon for storage admins that could facilitate a quick change into their alter ego.  Many of the new storage technologies, especially solid-state disk (SSD), have the potential to turn the storage admin into Superman, saving the day for multiple other teams including the virtualization, application and database teams. SSD has radically better storage I/O performance than traditional spinning disk but is very expensive by comparison.  Due to the cost, blind investment if SSD can result in a large expense without a corresponding payback.  As a result, we continually hear IT users asking “How do I effectively use SSD in my environment?” Given how important that question is becoming, we worked with George Crump and the team at Storage Switzerland to try to provide some additional guidance about how and where to use SSD to get the most benefit from the investment.  The first article titled “How Do I Know My Virtual Environment is Ready For SSD?” was posted January 7.  An additional article on using SSD to enhance database performance will be coming soon. 

 

As new storage technologies like SSD become more mainstream, it will be even more important that storage admins in all kinds of IT environments have the ability to gather the right data to determine how much and where to use SSD to optimize the investment.  Hopefully then the storage admin can spend more time feeling like Superman and less like Clark Kent.

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