Increasing infrastructure complexity has affected the role of nearly all IT professionals, creating the need for new skill sets, including the ability to help companies make informed, strategic business decisions, according to a survey of 298 technology professionals by IT management software developer Solarwinds.
A whopping 99 of respondents said they are given the opportunity to at least occasionally provide guidance and expertise necessary to help their companies make such decisions, and indicated information security is the IT role that will need to adapt the most to evolving technology over the next three to five years.
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 one-half of respondents said they need more training in their areas of responsibility in order to feel better positioned to give advice, and nearly 40 percent said they need a better understanding of their companies’ overall business.
More than half of all IT departments now manage virtualization, mobility, compliance, data analytics, SDN/virtual networks, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs, cloud computing and self-service automation.
In addition, 52 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.
"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," Suaad Sait, executive vice president of products and markets for SolarWinds, said in a statement. "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."
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 initiatives.
More than 50 percent of those surveyed said information security and cloud computing top the list of IT skill sets that will grow in demand over the next three to five years, followed by virtualization.
"These and other IT issues can have tremendous negative impact on productivity and revenue generation. 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," Sait continued. "Likewise, IT professionals need to be prepared to take on this new role."