The Challenges of Managing Increased Complexity as Hybrid IT Accelerates

SolarWinds has released the findings of its ninth annual IT Trends Report which examines the acceleration of digital transformation efforts and its impact on IT services. The report found that the acceleration of hybrid IT has increased network complexity for most organizations and caused several worrisome challenges for IT professionals.

Hybrid and remote working have amplified the impact of distributed and complex IT environments. Running workloads and applications on cloud and on-premises infrastructure can be challenging, and many organizations are increasingly confronted with, and ultimately hampered by, these issues.

According to an IDC report, as more mission-critical workloads move to connected cloud architectures spanning public, private, hybrid, and multi-cloud environments, enterprises are recognizing that they need to invest in the tools that will help them ensure coherent policies. and performance across all platforms and end users. However, they simultaneously face challenges such as budget, time constraints, and barriers to implementing observability as a strategy to keep pace with hybrid computing realities.

The report also found that technology professionals feel less confident in their organization’s ability to manage IT. While 54% of tech professionals surveyed say they use monitoring strategies to manage this complexity, 49% said they lack visibility into the majority of their organization’s applications and infrastructure. This lack of visibility impacts their ability to perform anomaly detection, easy root cause analysis, and other critical processes to ensure the availability, performance, and security of business-critical applications.

“Operational complexity prevents organizations from capitalizing on their technology-driven transformation and investments and delivering benefits to end users,” said Sudhakar Ramakrishna, President and CEO of SolarWinds.

“As organizations look beyond the pandemic, they need to re-examine their investments of the past few years. Part of this requires organizations to have visibility into their IT environments to understand what is working and what is not, and where to prioritize their efforts to achieve the targeted ROI in their planned projects.

“Observability is increasingly becoming the clear answer for technology professionals tasked with managing higher levels of complexity in these diverse and distributed environments spanning on-premises, private and public clouds,” Ramakrishna added. “However, organizations should set aside time and resources to hone their skills and train technology professionals to help them properly implement observability strategies and more effectively manage hybrid IT realities, and prepare their teams and businesses for long-term success.”

The Challenges of Hybrid IT Acceleration

The continued expansion of hybrid IT is driving increased levels of IT management complexity, but technology professionals feel a lack of confidence in how best to manage it.

49% of technology professionals surveyed confirmed that the acceleration of hybrid IT has increased the complexity of managing IT in their organization.

These tech professionals reported the following key drivers of increased complexity:

  • Fragmentation between legacy and new technologies (43%)
  • Increased technology needs of multiple departments (42%)
  • New tools and/or technologies (38%)
  • Maintaining a legacy technology stack (38%)

Interestingly, 59% of small businesses surveyed cited increased technology requirements across multiple departments as the primary cause of increased complexity, compared to 40% of their midsize counterparts and 37% of their enterprise counterparts.

When asked how confident technology professionals are in their organization’s ability to manage IT complexity:

  • Only 8% of tech professionals surveyed said they felt extremely confident.
  • 36% of respondents admitted that they were not fully equipped to handle complexity and only felt a little confident.
  • 50% of technology professionals surveyed were confident that their organization was equipped to handle IT complexity appropriately.
  • Another 4% were not confident at all.

When the level of trust of tech professionals is considered by company size, trust levels increased among small businesses surveyed:

  • Nearly two-thirds of small business technology professionals said they were confident (52%) or extremely confident (12%) in managing IT complexity.
  • Meanwhile, large companies experienced the lowest level of trust, with only 47% of respondents saying they were confident and 36% saying they were somewhat confident.

A particular area of ​​concern among respondents is visibility. With the increasing shift to complex and hybrid IT environments, technology professionals say they have limited visibility into their networks, applications, and infrastructure.

When asked about current IT monitoring/management strategies, 49% of respondents said they only have visibility into about half or less of their applications and infrastructure.

By company size, 46% of small and large business technology professionals surveyed said their organization provides visibility into most of their applications and infrastructure, compared to just 38% of their midsize counterparts .

Anomaly detection (63%), easy root cause analysis (60%), and the ability to collect metrics from disparate systems (57%) were revealed as the top three aspects that respondents lack. estimate that their current IT monitoring/management strategies provide visibility into less than half of their applications and infrastructure strategy.

The lack of visibility of organizations on their networks has an impact on the return on investment.

54% of respondents agreed that the return on investment (ROI) had been impacted during an IT project they oversaw in the past 12-18 months due to the increased complexity of hybrid IT.

  • Twenty-one percent of respondents said the IT project in question took an additional four to seven months or more.
  • Twenty-eight percent said the project in question had been extended for up to three months.

Depending on company size, a higher percentage of small business technology professional respondents (19%) indicated a shorter timeframe of one to four weeks to achieve expected ROI compared to their medium (6%) and enterprise (11%).

Overcoming IT complexity hurdles and improving ROI will be challenging, with budget and time constraints looming.

Respondents say the top barriers to improving visibility and implementing observability as an IT strategy are:

  • Time constraints (48%)
  • Lack of resources (43%)
  • Lack of budget (41%)

28% of all tech professionals surveyed said they had no idea of ​​their overall IT budget.

Interestingly, as company size increases, the percentage of technology respondents who see lack of budget as a barrier decreases.

  • 52% of small business tech professionals report budget as a barrier, compared to 47% and 32% for their midsize and enterprise counterparts.

With regard to planned investments in IT management tools over the next 12 months:

  • 53% of technology professionals responded that their organization plans to invest less than 20% of the overall IT budget.
  • 19% said their organization would invest 20% or more.

As company size increases, the percentage of technology professionals who say their organization will invest less than 20% of its overall IT budget in IT management tools in the next 12 months decreases.

  • The percentage of technology professionals indicating that their organization plans to invest 20% or more remains consistent across small, medium and large companies.

There is a lack of planned investment even though 54% of respondents say the best solution to manage increased complexity is to adopt IT management tools.

75% of technology professionals surveyed say their organization has prioritized adopting a hybrid IT strategy for their technology environment over the next three years.

The main areas of impact that respondents expect to see if their organizations implement these IT management tools would be:

  • Improved security (53%)
  • Improved application performance (40%)
  • Improved user/customer experience (35%)
  • Faster response and repair times for errors and downtime (35%)

Other strategies that respondents mentioned as important to help address complexity issues include:

  • Staff training and development (56%)
  • Adopt IT monitoring/management tools (54%)
  • Invest in automation tools (38%)
  • Outsourcing of IT services (32%)

When asked to select the top ways their organization’s experience with IT management complexity has influenced future technology investments:

  • 41% of tech professionals surveyed selected access to skills development training, and
  • An additional 33% selected new positions/recruitment of specialists and increased/raised investments.

By company size, a greater percentage of small business technology professional respondents chose to provide access to skills development training (50%) compared to their larger counterparts (40%).

  • Similarly, a higher percentage of enterprise technology professionals indicated that their organization increased/increased investments (45%) compared to their smaller counterparts (19%).

Sharon D. Cole