Cisco: IT Visibility Into Biz Like a 'Foggy Day in London'

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2013-05-10

Cisco: IT Visibility Into Biz Like a 'Foggy Day in London'

It's not easy being an IT manager these days, according to a recent survey published by Cisco Systems at the Interop 2013 show this week in Las Vegas.

According to the study, IT and business leaders are working more closely than before, but there is still a gulf when aligning business needs with IT. At the same time, some IT managers don't feel that business leaders have a particularly good view of them, or give the IT department the budget or support it needs.

IT managers also are confident that they can respond to business needs, and understand that networks—under pressure from such trends as bring-your-own-device (BYOD), moving applications to the cloud, and data center virtualization and consolidation—are becoming even more important to the business for delivering applications and keeping up the performance of business and Web applications.

Cisco's 2013 Global IT Impact Survey also indicates that while IT managers are familiar with some trends, such as software-defined networking (SDN), they don't have as deep an understanding of others, such as the Internet of Things.

Cisco's study surveyed 1,300 IT professionals in 13 countries with the goal of gaining insight into IT's role in enabling business, finding out if businesses are making the investments in the network to enable it to keep up with demands, and the extent that IT will adopt emerging technologies that can increase IT's effectiveness.

"More than ever, IT has the potential to make a profound impact on the business—and opportunity to act as a strategic partner—by building a network architecture that can leverage multiple technology transitions," Rob Soderbery, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Enterprise Networking Group, said in a statement. "The most successful IT professionals are those who acknowledge that fast decision-making within the enterprise is directly tied to the readiness of the network."

The survey revealed a number of seemingly conflicting responses. For example, 89 percent of IT managers said they collaborate with their businesses' leaders at least once a month, and that 63 percent said they're confident that IT can respond to business needs. However, 76 percent also said business leaders always or sometimes roll out new applications without engaging the IT department, and 38 percent say they are brought into the planning and deployment processes too late.

Thirty-five percent said they were somewhat confident in the ability of their IT department to respond to their business's needs, which was equal to the percentage who were confident in their ability to do "Gangnam Style" dance moves.

Cisco: IT Visibility Into Biz Like a 'Foggy Day in London'

Twenty-six percent, when asked how they knew the IT department was doing a good job, said that no one every calls them. Another 23 percent said they knew by the fact that they sleep at home rather than in the office.

Almost a third of IT managers compared their visibility into their company's business initiatives to "a foggy day in London." Thirty-six percent said the IT department was viewed by business leaders as an "innovator," while 34 percent said "orchestrator." However, 15 percent chose "firefighter," 7 percent said "ghost" and another 7 percent said "fortune teller."

In addition, 71 percent said the IT department is deploying more applications now than a year ago, but 41 percent said the networks aren't ready for BYOD, while 38 percent said it wasn't ready to move applications to the cloud.

Budgetary issues were considered the biggest hurdle to deploying new applications, according to the survey. Thirty-four percent of IT managers said they didn't have a big enough budget, and 18 percent said they "would rather break out of prison or train for a triathlon than ask for additional budget."

Other challenges were network limitations, cloud infrastructure and data center readiness, and a lack of staff.

Regarding new technologies, 71 percent of respondents said they plan to deploy SDN technology this year for such reasons as creating a more programmable network and to reduce costs. However, 34 percent said they have seen an actual SDN deployment as often as they've seen Elvis, Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster.

In addition, 48 percent said they believe the Internet of Things—the idea that almost everything, from computing and mobile devices to appliances, automobiles and smart TVs, is increasingly being connected to the Internet—will create new business opportunities. Cisco and other tech vendors are strong proponents of the Internet of Things. However, 42 percent said they were as familiar with the Internet of Things—"somewhat familiar"—as they were with Einstein's theory of relativity.

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