A new survey from IT management software vendor SolarWinds reports that only one third of IT pros are completely confident of providing business insight, although that is a growing requirement. “The days of IT’s limited impact on business are long gone, replaced by the modern era of almost complete reliance on technology and the incredibly complex infrastructure it brings with it,” stated Suaad Sait, EVP, products and markets.
Even my rudimentary math skills can figure out that that means two thirds don’t share that confidence. According to SolarWinds, the survey of Canadian and US ITers revealed that increasing infrastructure complexity has affected the role of nearly all IT professionals, creating the need for new skillsets, including the ability to help companies make informed, strategic business decisions. I’m not sure just how much business insight from IT should be expected, but Sait told IT Trends & Analysis that “information technology is truly becoming a differentiator.”
What stood out was the amount of influence that is being requested of IT. “99% of IT pros have been given the opportunity to have a seat at the table for strategy”, but only a third feel they are confident in playing that role at the table, he said.
“It’s not because they’re not smart enough… just that there is so much change going on it’s just so hard to get their arms around it. There is a lot going on at a very high speed.”
From a SolarWinds’ perspective, the survey supports its focus on building IT management software that makes IT pros jobs easier, said Sait. It comes down to making things simpler, less complex.
There were some interesting “read-the-tea-leaves opportunities,” he said, including the need to increase its focus on virtualization and mobility. “The definition around what cloud computing is and what that means to IT organizations seems to be a blur.” Like the rest of the world, the company needs to better understand how cloud fits into what they’re trying to do, he added.
Key findings of the survey of almost 300 IT practitioners, managers and directors in the U.S. and Canada from public and private sector small, mid-size and enterprise companies included:
-over half of all IT departments now manage virtualization, mobility, compliance, data analytics, SDN/virtual networks, BYOx, cloud computing and self-service automation;
-52% said increasing complexity has greatly affected their responsibilities over the past three to five years, and an additional 42% said it has somewhat affected their role
-99% said they are given the opportunity to at least occasionally provide guidance and expertise necessary to help their companies make such decisions;
-95% said they feel at least somewhat confident in their ability to provide such advice, only one-third of those are completely confident doing so;
-to feel more empowered to provide such advice, slightly more than half of respondents said they need more training in their area(s) of responsibility, and nearly 40% said they need a better understanding of their companies’ overall business;
-more than 50% said information security and cloud computing top the list of IT skillsets that will grow in demand over the next three to five years, followed by virtualization;
-security is the IT role that will need to adapt the most to evolving technology over the next three to five years; and,
-cloud computing ranked as the most important technology for businesses to invest in today to remain competitive for the next three to five years, followed closely by mobility, virtualization (server or desktop), data analytics and BYOx, respectively.