Confidence levels among IT workers have plummeted as tech teams’ jobs have become more complex. The reasons behind IT worker angst are unprecedented, signaling a shift paralleling other post-pandemic industries. Running applications across cloud and on-premises infrastructure, hybrid office environments with distributed workforces and the accelerated adoption of new and automated technologies have all contributed to increased IT complexity.
In our recently-released SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2022—Getting IT Right: Managing Hybrid IT Complexity, we examined the current state of IT along with areas of opportunity for technology professionals who must manage this increased complexity as hybrid IT accelerates. “The continued shift to hybrid IT drives increased levels of IT management complexity, but tech pros feel a lack of confidence in how to best manage it,” according to the report.
Manage Hybrid IT Complexity
Solutions are necessary, as the research shows only 8% of tech pros surveyed for the IT trends report feel “extremely confident” in their ability to manage increasingly complex networks. More than half of the tech pros interviewed said their organization manages hybrid IT complexity by training staff and adopting IT monitoring/management tools. However, budgeting, time constraints and hybrid work environments exacerbate this challenge. These responses point to a need for intervention and assessment, as IT professionals’ work is more business-critical now than ever. Strong IT infrastructure is necessary for fundamental processes across all industries and business environments.
Half Lack Visibility
According to a report by market intelligence firm IDC, as more mission-critical workloads move to connected cloud architectures spanning public, private, hybrid and multi-cloud environments, enterprises recognize the need to invest in the tools which will help them ensure consistent policies and performance, despite budget and observability implementation issues. The SolarWinds IT Trends report revealed nearly half of respondents lack visibility into the majority of their organization’s apps and infrastructure.
Indeed, visibility is increasingly becoming the clear answer for tech pros charged with managing greater levels of complexity in these diverse and distributed environments. To develop their teams and business for long-term success, organizations must set aside time and resources to upskill and train tech pros to help them properly implement observability strategies and manage hybrid IT realities more effectively.
Effectiveness Lost Off-Site
But some aspects of the remote revolution, including training IT workers for increasingly complex network management, brainstorming sessions, providing sensitive feedback and onboarding new employees, lose their effectiveness when done off-site. For those who’ve made the switch to teleworking, most have found more work-life balance but less connection with co-workers or consistent support from leadership, according to a Pew Research Center study.
Software company Culdesac announced it’s moving workers online and closing its San Francisco offices. Over 14,000 Google workers worldwide moved to a new office or went fully remote during the pandemic. Other companies, like Microsoft, have said employees who want to work more than 50% of the time remotely must have their schedules approved by their managers.
Things are quickly shifting as we enter the era of post-pandemic IT infrastructure existence.
Standards for Automated Network Management
Solutions are growing in availability. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), an international community of network designers, operators, vendors and researchers, is working on standards for automated network management, which aim to improve and make the management of networks more efficient as they continue to increase in size and complexity.
While organizations also lack insight into their network’s impact on ROI due to increased hybrid IT complexity, looking forward, they must re-examine their investments from the past few years. Part of this requires companies to have visibility into their IT environments to understand what’s working and not working.
Economic Growth for Those Willing to Adapt
Technological change could bring about economic growth and opportunity, but only for those willing to adapt. IT infrastructure is so much deeper than most businesses understand, and as the existing data confirms (and most experts in the field agree), investing in IT infrastructure is necessary. A business’ network—and its speed and security—can be the difference between satisfied or frustrated employees and customers.
As hybrid IT acceleration has increased network complexity and lowered tech pros’ network management confidence, these post-pandemic problems are a chance for organizations to evolve. “The healthy thing to do is to look ahead, accept the reality, and start getting ready for the transition,” said Chirag Shah, an associate professor at the University of Washington Information School. “So instead of feeling the anxiety and being defensive, think of this as an opportunity for advancement.”