IT professionals must be prepared to not only manage an increasing array of technologies, but also step outside their traditional role by leading strategic business initiatives.
That's the message from Solar Winds' new IT survey that charts the evolving role of IT professionals in the business environment. The provider of IT management software released the results of its new IT survey and the results reveal 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.
While most IT professionals have at least some degree of confidence in their ability to provide such advice, more preparation is needed to feel completely confident.
"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," said Suaad Sait, executive vice president, products and markets, SolarWinds. "Something as simple as an incorrect server configuration can lead to loss of access to cloud-based applications and data, email server outages and ecommerce site shutdowns."
"These and other IT issues can have tremendous negative impact on productivity and revenue generation," he said. "As a result, more businesses are starting to recognize that behind their success are teams of IT heroes that need to be involved in business-level decisions. Likewise, IT professionals need to be prepared to take on this new role."
The survey confirms CIO impressions presented at the National Retail Federation's BIG Show held Jan. 12-15, where panel discussions and private conversations with executives revealed a very upbeat, almost giddy, forecast for IT spending. All the big priorities for retailers — mobile, omnichannel and security — require an enterprise-wide investment in IT.
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. More than half of all IT departments now manage virtualization, mobility, compliance, data analytics, SDN/virtual networks, BYOx, cloud computing and self-service automation. Fifty-two percent of respondents said increasing complexity has greatly affected their responsibilities over the past three to five years, and an additional 42 percent said it has somewhat affected their role
Foremost among the results of this evolution, modern 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 respondents said they are given the opportunity to at least occasionally provide guidance and expertise necessary to help their companies make such decisions.
While 95 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 doing so. Slightly more than half of respondents said they need more training in their area of responsibility, and nearly 40 percent said they need a better understanding of their companies' overall business.
It's possible this evolution of IT and the increasing infrastructure complexity have resulted in the need for new technology and IT skillsets to effectively manage networks and systems. More than 50 percent of those surveyed 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.
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. But information security is the IT role that will need to adapt the most to evolving technology over the next three to five years
-See this Solar Winds press release
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