Need for Increased Training — Strained Budgets Strain Enterprise IT Teams
As enterprises have increasingly embraced cloud, hybrid IT environments and DevOps methodologies, many of the old siloes associated with IT departments have crumbled—while demand for training and skills that reflect new technology requirements have risen considerably.
This new reality was reflected in the findings of a new survey from IT management software provider SolarWinds, and was published in the SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2020. While the survey was conducted prior to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the results highlight the challenging environment IT departments faced as they headed into the current economic and operations challenges.
The survey found that the top three ways enterprise technology professional roles are changing include the need to retrain existing staff (43%), increased on-premises responsibilities (40%) and increased work week hours (37%). Concurrently, those IT professionals surveyed cited lack of budget and resources (36%), unclear or shifting priorities (23%) and lack of training for personnel (12%).
That lack of training is a challenge that is getting worse, as 48% of respondents stated that new technology professionals entering the workforce aren’t coming equipped with the skills necessary to manage modern, distributed IT environments. Only 28% of those asked believe that these new workers do come with the skills necessary.
Non-technical, or so-called soft skills, that enable cross-functional teams, are seen increasingly critical to success. These skills include project management (69%), interpersonal communication (57%) and people management (53%). Interestingly, only 53% of those surveyed said they are comfortable communicating with their business leaders when it comes to requesting new technology purchases, investing time/budget into team training and related requests.
These findings are echoed in the recent DevOps Institute Upskilling 2020: Enterprise DevOps Skills Report. Based on 1,300 respondents, this survey found more than 50% of enterprises are challenged managing the people and the processes that make DevOps possible. Most respondents (61%) also said interpersonal skills are crucial.
Other areas where the SolarWinds survey found skills to be essential include application performance management (APM), security and compliance. According to the survey, 54% of those surveyed report spending more time managing applications and services over infrastructure and hardware. And, the survey found, when organizations move to cloud technologies, 57% use network traffic analysis and network application analysis, while 55% said they use user experience monitoring. Finally, 52% said they use log analysis. Sixty-one percent said for APM, 61% said they use both native management tools provided by their cloud vendor and third-party toolsets.
The survey also found that as businesses increase in size, the more IT turns to log analytics (58% for enterprise), and tracing (24% for enterprise) increases. While only 23% of small businesses have not or don’t plan to adopt technology to gain visibility into cloud or SaaS technologies.
The survey also found that 65% of IT professionals spend at least 10% of their day on security management. The top skills they have prioritized to develop within their organizations include network security (48%), security and event management (33%), and backup and recovery (29%).
Additionally, regulatory compliance has fueled the need for increased staff, according to 46% of respondents, with the biggest impact coming from GDPR (45%), PCI DSS (34%) and HIPAA (34%).
The SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2020 was conducted in December 2019, and is based on responses from 227 technology practitioners, managers and directors from public-and private small, mid-size and enterprise businesses within the U.S. and Canada.