IT leaders see software-defined solutions (SDx) as a vital component in a broader service-defined enterprise IT transformation, something many IT organizations are undergoing now, according to a survey of 177 chief information officers (CIOs) and IT directors from Logicalis.
The survey indicated investing in software-defined solutions will require CIOs to recruit a new breed of business-oriented IT professional who can translate business needs into policy frameworks that can support extensive IT automation-- a fundamental shift in the skill sets previously sought when hiring IT staff.
Around two-thirds (35 percent) of CIOs say they are prepared to pay more for the skills required to make the most of SDx solutions, though the amount varies.
One-fourth said they expect to pay 5 percent to 10 percent more, and one-fifth (22 percent) say they expect to pay 10 percent to 20 percent more than they would for traditional technical professionals.
"One of the things CIOs can and should do to help prepare themselves for a shift to software-defined solutions is add specific skillsets to their IT teams," Mike Martin, senior vice president of solutions and services for Logicalis US, told eWeek. "To embrace the transformative effect of a software-defined strategy, IT leaders in America and around the world will find their organizations searching for skilled business analysts who can bridge the gap between the company’s business and operational priorities through the definition and management of IT policies."
Martin explained these kinds of skills are currently in short supply, but will soon be in high demand, and searching out and hiring these technically savvy business analysts is the first step in moving toward a software-defined future.
Nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of the CIOs queried say they expect software-defined solutions to impact their IT services and delivery strategies over the next three years.
More than a third (34 percent) expect that to happen in the next two years, and one in 10 IT pros questioned expect to implement SDx in the next 12 months.
With that in mind, just over one-third (34 percent) of the CIOs surveyed cited "technical skills" as their top priority when recruiting IT staff, while the remaining two thirds instead look first at business skills like communication, service management and business analysis, for example, which have become top priorities for 28 percent, 15 percent and 12 percent of CIOs.
Well over one-third (41 percent) of CIOs expect to rename their IT department in the next two years to reflect its growing service management role, and 57 percent of CIOs agreed that, by 2016, 80 percent of IT budgets will be based on providing service integration for a broad portfolio of internally and externally sourced IT and business services.
"The CIO has traditionally been thought of as the technology leader in an organization. While that may still be true, the CIO of tomorrow will have to think differently, shifting from a technology-based way of thinking to a service-based mindset," Martin said. "This will give the CIO the ability to focus on business innovation rather than speeds and feeds, and ultimately, will cement the CIO’s position in the executive team as an innovator and business leader."