Mastering IT management complexity in the face of rapid change

Study shows IT organizations must help businesses transform to a more agile and scalable model that can adapt in the face of upheaval and uncertainty.

By | 3 minute read | November 30, 2020

Long before 2020, businesses were transitioning toward an increasingly digital economy. The events of this year have only made that transition even more critical. Adapting to a much larger remote workforce and supporting society’s increased reliance on online transactions have put pressure on businesses in almost every industry. If IT organizations cannot keep pace with this global shift, the businesses they support will ultimately falter or fail. Now more than ever, IT teams must help businesses transform to a more agile and scalable model that can adapt in the face of upheaval and uncertainty.

The role of hybrid multicloud environments

Enterprise IT has become complex, making it difficult to manage effectively. Changing business needs, shifting customer demands and fluid application architectures keep IT teams on the defensive, trying to effectively run their systems. Hybrid multicloud adoption adds greater complexity for managing new infrastructure models. For businesses to stay competitive and successful, IT organizations must streamline IT management to simplify operations and build a foundation that enables their companies to adjust to ever-changing business priorities. With a wider array of development and management tools available, IT teams feel pressure to deliver the same or even higher levels of service as they once achieved from on-premises systems. Part of that pressure comes from the consumers of IT services, who expect and demand hyperscale service models.

IBM recently partnered with 451 Research, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence, to look at the challenges presented by hybrid environments and the impact they have on the enterprise. The study considers the current state of hybrid multicloud infrastructure and explores how to improve management strategies to enhance efficiency, increase security and build resilience.

Let’s explore a few findings from this report.

IT infrastructure is not up to the challenge. Businesses have always demanded a lot from IT teams, but this has been starkly true in 2020. Companies need infrastructure to deliver on strategic initiatives such as improving customer experience, shortening time to market and improving ROI through innovative IT approaches. Right now, 70% of organizations said their IT infrastructure meets less than half of their needs.

IT environments are unready to support new business strategies. To get their IT environments to where they need to be, IT organizations are undergoing significant transformation. Over two thirds (67%) of survey respondents said their IT infrastructure needs a high level of transformation to be able to deliver on business requirements.

Effective management of IT infrastructure remains limited. A fundamental need of transformation is simplifying IT management. Effective management can help secure IT resources and address concerns around cost and resilience. But 83% of respondents said their IT infrastructure could be managed more effectively than it is currently. Respondents recognized the benefits of establishing a single management system. Among them were more efficient operations, improved security, faster problem resolution and better decision-making.

Partnerships address IT management complexity

This year has demanded much from IT organizations and the businesses they support. The year ahead likely will make similar or even greater demands. With so much at stake, where should you start? How can you ensure success of IT management and business transformation?

When 451 Research asked respondents about their plans for improving IT infrastructure management, 76% indicated they’d use a partner on at least one part of their transformation. A quarter of respondents said they plan to use a hosted, managed or SaaS implementation for their applications. Nearly as many indicated they’d work with a partner on longer-term projects (24%) or one-time engagements (14%), with a logical implication being that the business would eventually take over management after the partner assisted with early challenges and passed on sufficient knowledge to internal teams. And 13% plan to move portions of infrastructure management entirely to a partner.

The appeal of relying on partners is obvious: Partnerships lift the burden of infrastructure management from IT teams, allowing them to focus instead on core business value and competitive differentiators. These responses reflect a recognition that tapping outside expertise can accelerate progress toward strategic goals and amplify skills of internal teams to better meet future challenges.

Read more about what the 451 Research study uncovered by downloading the full report. The study asked 1,805 global senior business and IT decisions makers about their experience with hybrid cloud infrastructure design and use. It delves into their opinions on the state of their existing IT infrastructure, their management tools and practices and their future plans.