By Chrystal Taylor, Head Geek™solar winds
Cloud adoption is accelerating. According to Gartner, end-user spending on cloud services grew 20% in 2022 to nearly US$500 billion. The spending spree isn’t about to die down either; it is expected to increase by another hundred billion dollars in 2023.
Every business is under pressure. Competitors spend on resiliency and improving products and services. Customers, on the other hand, are demanding better experiences from businesses. The distributed workforce also has demands: they want flexible work options. Regardless of your perspective, businesses need to catch up and spend.
It’s never been harder to work in IT as teams try to meet competing demands. Weaknesses include running workloads and applications on cloud and on-premises infrastructure and supporting both new technologies and legacy infrastructure. As new features and applications are added, the complexity of the technology stack grows and spreads exponentially.
IT complexity is an issue we cannot ignore. It even affects the confidence of the tech professionals who maintain the systems.
A problem of trust
According to the SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2022, complexity has negatively impacted IT teams’ ability to sustain their business and results.
Survey respondents from around the world say the main drivers of increased complexity include new tools and technologies, increased technology requirements across multiple departments, and fragmentation between legacy and modern technologies.
These increased demands indicate an impending potential crisis. Findings from the IT Trends Report reveal that IT professionals lack confidence in their ability to handle today’s complex environments. When asked how confident IT professionals were in their organization’s ability to handle complexity, only 16% of respondents said they felt extremely confident.
More than a third of respondents (34%) admitted that they were not fully equipped to handle complexity, and a further 6% were not at all confident. Most IT professionals also believe that return on investment (ROI) has been impacted due to the increasing complexity of IT.
But there are ways to help fight this crisis with confidence. I have included four below.
- Choose the right payment model
When working with an IT vendor, it’s essential to keep your options open and research the best deal or payment plan.
Subscription or one-time payments have budget advantages, but prepaid IT services should not be discounted. The providers of these services must commit to making you happy or you will leave.
Paid computing also allows your team to see a direct link between cost, waste and inefficiency. This forces IT pros to stay on top to maximize the use of what they buy. For example, if there is a technological delay, they will contact the supplier for a faster solution.
The result: Pay-as-you-go IT provides a return on investment for the team.
It is important to select the right option for the task at hand AND the needs of the business. This selection will also need to be reassessed and defended at future budget meetings, whichever you choose.
- Find the solutions adapted to your size
Every organization faces different challenges, but the size of the organization can play an important role in determining the tool, strategy, or technology that might help better manage IT complexity. For example, more than a third (38%) of technology professionals surveyed cited fragmentation between legacy and new technologies as the top cause of increased complexity, compared to 29% of their small business counterparts.
Before buying anything, consider the size of your organization. A small business may be able to deal with the complexity by bringing in an outside consultant or two to develop strategy, although this may not have the same impact on a larger organization. Instead, large organizations would be better off undertaking a cost-benefit analysis to determine the most efficient way to manage large legacy technology stacks.
- The domino effect of training
The role technology professionals play in helping their companies make strategic business decisions about emerging technologies cannot be overemphasized.
IT professionals know the limits of their technology initiatives. They also know where compliance and security risks lie, and how best to use technology to achieve business goals.
Still, confidence is down. Many IT professionals feel they don’t have optimal visibility into infrastructure and networks and need training and upskilling to achieve this.
Comprehensive, first-hand training, including time to experience and learn these technologies, is necessary to create a safe and confident IT workforce.
When communicating with management, technical leaders should emphasize that improving performance, visibility, customer experience, and product resolution has a ripple effect on business growth.
- Remember, it’s not the first time
Take the time to remember that everything changes. The system you loved last year has since been updated. The company you relied on seems to have changed direction and mission. On the surface, tools like Zoom and Slack can connect us, but with each new connection comes an additional layer of IT infrastructure.
IT professionals will need to step back and gain perspective on the pace of change and why change is needed. This last point does not require any technology, but it does require the ability to remember that your work has always been about change.
Fighting the problem of complexity is a fight for all of us. Try these four steps, but also fasten your seat belt. Cloud adoption will continue.