The study argues that a lack of automation of "repetitive and time-consuming" IT processes, such as patch management, inventory and new machine deployment, is to blame for the hours demanded of IT professionals outside of work, and that companies that are not embracing automation are missing out on opportunities to save money.
Routine system management tasks that had the potential to interrupt employee access to applications were generally performed by IT professionals outside the Monday through Friday work week, according to the study.
Sixty-four percent of respondents reported they performed such tasks in the evening and on weekends, and 17 percent said they worked late into the night to get them done.
Sixty-eight percent of respondents had been required to work a major holiday at least once to perform a routine task.
The study found that high-tech professionals working in the midmarket were the hardest hit by lack of automation, with only 13 percent of IT staff at midsized companies responding that they never worked overtime, compared to 20 percent at large companies and 34 percent at small companies.
The survey also found that small and midsized companies were the furthest behind their large company counterparts in the automation of repetitive processes. 19 percent said they had one or no tasks automated; only 17 percent had all tasks surveyed automated.
When asked which challenges posed the greatest barriers to automating some of their processes, 39 percent of respondents said the available tools were too expensive, 18 percent said the tools were inadequate, 17 percent chose lack of management support for using the tools and 15 percent said they had no time to evaluate tools.
Patch management came in as the most frequently automated task across the board, with 42 percent of respondents ranking it as the first task theyd automate at a new job, followed by security enforcement (17 percent) and software distribution (15 percent).