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

IT and business leaders are collaborating more, but despite the importance of IT, there is still a gulf between the two, a Cisco survey finds.

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.