Australian IT Pros Survey: Network Complexity

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A look at network complexity, its drivers, needed skill sets,
and levels of concern among IT professionals in Australia.

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  • No significant correlation between company size and driver for compute virtualisation or smarter equipment
  • Relatively even distribution (qualitatively) acrossbusiness size for top 2 drivers
  • In contrast to both the US & UK, “auditing” edges out “compliance” for the #2 spot.
  • No significant correlation between company size and impact on role
  • 1 “do not agree at all”  10 “agree completely7.5-10.0 solid agreement5.0-7.4 moderate/some agreement2.5-4.9 little agreement1.0-2.4 no agreement
  • 1 “do not agree at all”  10 “agree completely7.5-10.0 solid agreement5.0-7.4 moderate/some agreement2.5-4.9 little agreement1.0-2.4 no agreement
  • Noteworthy “Other” open-ended responses:“educate management and business about network-related opportunities and implications” (2)“be open to new ideas – too many dinosaurs unwilling to change or study new technologies”“continue to learn and adapt new technologies and practices or improve those we have”
  • “Other” noteworthy open-ended responses:“network management. a complete understanding of how the network works must be the foundation for any IT pro dealing with networks”“willingness and ability to learn new things”“understanding the need for project relevance and flexibility for market conditions that can rapidly change”“IT professionals need people and business management skills”“linking network complexity to business drivers”“key skills – troubleshooting, negotiation, communication, documentation.”
  • 1 “do not agree at all”  10 “agree completely7.5-10.0 solid agreement (9.7% of respondents)5.0-7.4 moderate/some agreement (29.9%)2.5-4.9 little agreement (31.8%)1.0-2.4 no agreement (25.3%)
  • Sampling of noteworthy open-ended responses:Time to train – “time management”, “sufficient time for training”, “finding the hours to train”, “time – balancing operational work and study time”, “IT staff not available during work hours when they’re on external training”, “being overwhelmed with onsite work levels”, “managing work obligations to align with time required for training”, “availability”, “finding time to set aside for study”Approval process – “getting the approvers to get past seeing just the cost factor and not seeing the business need or value”, “the understanding of the organisation that training is required as an ongoing exercise”, “convincing management [about] the requirement for training”, “management understanding of the need”Budget – “budget availability”, “budget constraints”, “budget allocation not sufficient for training”, “cost”Training content – “selecting the training that delivers what I want in content”, “finding quality, focused courses”, “knowing where to start to get the best return for the time invested”, “identifying suitable training for the task”, “classes which match my objectives; classes [not] wandering off subject”, “finding the right course with the right content to address my needs”, “finding appropriate, affordable training”, “locating the appropriate course”Other noteworthy – “training in different time zones (ie USA vs Australia)”, “putting training into practise”Travel restriction/ban – “business freeze on training due to economic environment”
  • 1 “do not agree at all”  10 “agree completely7.5-10.0 solid agreement5.0-7.4 moderate/some agreement2.5-4.9 little agreement1.0-2.4 no agreement
  • 1 “do not agree at all”  10 “agree completely7.5-10.0 solid agreement5.0-7.4 moderate/some agreement2.5-4.9 little agreement1.0-2.4 no agreement
  • Australian IT Pros Survey: Network Complexity

    1. 1. 1 IT Pros Survey: Australia A look at network complexity, its drivers, needed skillset, and levels of concern among IT professionals in Australia Conducted by C White Consulting May/June 2013
    2. 2. 2 Study Overview: areas of discussion » What are the top drivers impacting network complexity? » How concerned are IT pros about their ability to be successful in regard to network complexity given their existing skillset? » How should any gaps in an IT pro’s network complexity skillset be addressed both now and in the future? For the purposes of this study, “network complexity” is defined as the continuously growing, increasingly complicated nature of the network due to new technologies (such as SDN, virtualisation, etc.) as well as the ever-increasing responsibilities placed on IT professionals from an IT operations perspective (by supporting new service offerings such as cloud, mobility, etc.) and business operations perspective (such as security or compliance)
    3. 3. 3 Demographics: breakdown of survey respondents 118 IT practitioners, managers and directors in Australia from public- and private-sector small, mid-size and enterprise companies participated in a May/June 2013 online survey 15% 4% 18% 4% 10% 11% 12% 26% Company Size (number of employees) 25-49 FTEs 50-99 FTEs 100-249 FTEs 250-499 FTEs 500-999 FTEs 1000-1499 FTEs 1500-4999 FTEs 5000+ FTEs 40% 20% 11% 15% 9% IT Pro’s Role Practitioner Manager Director IT Consultant Other IT-related 36% 54% 10% Public/Private Sector Split Public Sector Private Sector It's Complicated
    4. 4. 4 Drivers that Impact Network Complexity
    5. 5. 5 3.98 3.65 3.41 3.35 3.29 2.16 1 2 3 4 5 Compute virtualisation Smarter equipment and/or more complex equipment Software Defined Networks (SDN)/virtual networks Vendor proliferation Video conferencing/telepresence National Broadband Network (NBN) Technology Drivers A1: Please rank which of the following technologies increase network complexity the most for the networks that you manage with “1” meaning “most impactful to network complexity” and “5” meaning “least impactful to network complexity”, using each number only once: [provided “other” fill-in blank option and “N/A-do not use/manage” option as well] Top Drivers Impacting Network Complexity #1 #2 IT professionals surveyed indicated that compute virtualisation, followed by smarter equipment/more complex equipment (for example, you used to need 3 pieces of equipment to do what a single piece of equipment can do today) are the top two technology drivers increasing network complexity today.
    6. 6. 6 4.73 4.60 4.26 4.16 3.74 3.55 3.50 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Mobility Public cloud or Software as a Service (SaaS) Distributed workforce and/or telecommuters/work-from-… Video distribution and/or video conferencing Voice/Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Private cloud Drivers in IT Operations A2: IT professionals are increasingly asked to take on additional responsibilities as new IT service offerings emerge. Please rank which of the following areas increase network complexity the most for the networks that you manage with “1” meaning “most impactful to network complexity” and “7” meaning “least impactful to network complexity”, using each number only once: [provided “other” fill-in blank option and “N/A-do not use/manage” option as well] Top Drivers Impacting Network Complexity #1 #2 IT professionals surveyed indicated that Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and mobility are the top two areas within IT Operations impacting network complexity today.
    7. 7. 7 2.23 1.68 1.60 1 2 3 Security (for example, denial of service (DoS) attacks, Adobe vulnerabilities) Auditing (for example, IT audits due to PCI-DSS, EU Data Protection Directive, HIPAA and other… Compliance (for example, Payment Card Industry-Data Security Standard (PCI-… Drivers in Business Operations A3: IT professionals are increasingly asked to take on additional responsibilities as new business operations requirements emerge. Please rank which of the following areas increase network complexity the most for the networks that you manage with “1” meaning “most impactful to network complexity” and “3” meaning “least impactful to network complexity”, using each number only once: [provided “other” fill-in blank option and “N/A-do not use/manage” option as well] Top Drivers Impacting Network Complexity #1 IT professionals surveyed indicated that security (for example, denial of service (DoS) attacks, Adobe vulnerabilities) is the top Business Operations driver increasing network complexity today.
    8. 8. 8 IT Pro’s Level of Concern regarding His/Her Network Complexity Skillset
    9. 9. 9 A3: Based on the definition of “network complexity” above, how much has increased network complexity changed your IT role/responsibilities within the last 3-5 years? [choose one: “it has greatly affected my role/responsibilities”, “it has somewhat affected …”, “it has not affected …”, “do not know”] Level of Concern: IT Pro’s Network Complexity Skillset Over 80% of IT professionals said network complexity has either somewhat affected or greatly affected their role/responsibilities within the last 3-5 years. 29% 54% 14% 3% Impact of Network Complexity on IT Role in Last 3-5 Years It has greatly affected my role/responsibilities It has somewhat affected my role/responsibilities It has not affected my role/responsibilities Do not know
    10. 10. 10 A4(b,c,e): How much do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements? (please provide the degree to which you agree or disagree with each statement by selecting from 1 (“do not agree at all”) to 10 (“agree completely”): [provided “N/A” as well] Level of Concern: IT Pro’s Network Complexity Skillset IT professionals agree (moderately so) that their existing skillset has fully prepared them to deploy all the IT network management solution(s) necessary to manage their company’s current complexity challenges. IT pros also agree (slightly less so) that they are concerned regarding their ability to succeed given ever-increasing responsibilities that directly impact network complexity. 5.35 5.84 5.84 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 With my existing skillset, I am concerned about my ability to succeed given the new technologies (such as smarter equipment) and ever-increasing IT operations (such as cloud) and business operations (such as compliance) responsibilities I've been given, a With my existing skillset, I am fully prepared to deploy all the IT network management solution(s) necessary to manage our current network complexity challenges. IT professionals should have a "generalist" IT skillset (such as network) rather than a "specialist" IT skillset (such as server/application). (1 (“do not agree at all”)  10 (“agree completely”)) Do NC drivers hinder an IT Pro’s success given his/her existing skillset?
    11. 11. 11 A4(a,d): How much do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements? (please provide the degree to which you agree or disagree with each statement by selecting from 1 (“do not agree at all”) to 10 (“agree completely”): [provided “N/A” as well] Level of Concern: IT Pro’s Network Complexity Skillset IT professionals agree (moderately so) that their company is prepared for growing network complexity challenges, yet slightly less IT pros agree that they have already invested in all of the IT network management solution(s) necessary to address current network complexity challenges. 5.35 6.04 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 My company has already invested in all of the IT network management solution(s) necessary to address our current network complexity challenges. My company is prepared for our growing network complexity challenges. (1 (“do not agree at all”)  10 (“agree completely”)) How confident are IT pros that their companies are prepared for growing network complexity challenges?
    12. 12. 12 A9: What else does your company still need to do/obtain in order to be as prepared as possible for growing network complexity? (please choose all that apply) [provided “other” fill-in-the-blank response as well] Level of Concern: IT Pro’s Network Complexity Skillset Over 67% of IT professionals feel that their company still needs to train IT staff in order to be as prepared as possible for growing network complexity, and 54% of IT pros feel their company needs to add network management tools/software in order to do the same. Nearly 50% feel that their company needs to better prioritise existing IT resources to be as prepared as possible for growing network complexity. 67.8% 54.2% 49.2% 45.8% 28.8% 8.5% 0% 25% 50% 75% 100% Train IT staff Add network management tools/SW Better prioritize existing IT resources Increase IT budget Increase IT staff Other What else does an IT pro’s company still need to do/obtain in order to be as prepared as possible for growing network complexity?
    13. 13. 13 Addressing Gaps in an IT Pro’s Network Complexity Skillset
    14. 14. 14 A10: What is the single most important skill/skillset needed TODAY by IT professionals to combat the challenges of network complexity? (please choose only one) [provided “other” fill-in-the-blank response as well] Addressing Gaps: IT Pro’s Network Complexity Skillset Over one-third of all IT professionals feel that understanding of the business is the single most important skillset needed today to combat the challenges of network complexity, followed at a considerable distance by information security (12%), cloud/Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) (11%) and network engineering (10%). 35.9% 12.0% 11.1% 10.3% 8.5% 6.0% 6.0% 5.1% 5.1% 0% 25% 50% 75% 100% Understanding of the business Information security Cloud or SaaS Network engineering Project management Mobile applications and device management Other Compute virtualisation Server management The single most important skillset needed today by IT pros to combat the challenges of network complexity:
    15. 15. 15 A5(a): How much do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements? (please provide the degree to which you agree or disagree with each statement by selecting from 1 (“do not agree at all”) to 10 (“agree completely”): [provided “N/A” as well] Addressing Gaps: IT Pro’s Network Complexity Skillset Only 11% of IT professionals solidly agree that their higher education sufficiently prepared them for their current IT role, with another 39% somewhat agreeing that their higher education sufficiently prepared them. Another 30% of IT professionals are relatively undecided, and the remaining 15% believe that their higher education did NOT sufficiently prepare them for their current IT role. 4.77 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 My higher education (university degree(s) and/or vocational training) sufficiently prepared me for my current IT role. (1 (“do not agree at all”)  10 (“agree completely”)) Did higher education sufficiently prepare IT pros for their current IT roles?
    16. 16. 16 A11: What will be the single most important skill/skillset needed IN FIVE YEARS by IT professionals to combat the challenges of network complexity? (please choose only one) [provided “other” fill-in-the-blank response as well] Addressing Gaps: IT Pro’s Network Complexity Skillset Cloud/Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) - today’s single most important skillset- remains on top when IT pros look 5 years into the future to determine what will be the single most important skillset needed to combat the future challenges of network complexity. Understanding of the business surpasses information security as the second and third (respectively) most important skillsets, while mobile applications/device management jumps up the skillset radar as well. Network engineering falls from #4 today to the bottom of the list. 25.0% 21.6% 18.1% 14.7% 7.8% 6.0% 3.4% 2.6% 0.9% 0% 25% 50% 75% 100% Cloud or SaaS Understanding of the business Information security Mobile applications and device management Project management Other Server management Compute virtualisation Network engineering The single most important skillset needed in 5 years by IT pros to combat the future challenges of network complexity:
    17. 17. 17 A7: If you did not already possess the single most important skill needed TODAY to combat the challenges of network complexity, how would you realistically go about obtaining it? (please choose all that apply) [provided “other” fill-in-the-blank response as well] Addressing Gaps: IT Pro’s Network Complexity Skillset Over 58% of IT professionals would obtain training in order to gain necessary skills/certifications for combating network complexity. Over 45% would increase their experience/expertise organically, and 44% would participate in peer-to-peer learning such as forums and best practices. 58.1% 45.3% 43.6% 40.2% 32.5% 29.9% 22.2% 6.8% 3.4% 0% 25% 50% 75% 100% Obtain training Increase experience/expertise organically Participate in peer-to-peer learning (such as… Turn to online influencers/resources Participate in vendor learning Obtain certification Participate in distance learning Gain an/another university degree (undergraduate… Other Resources used for obtaining any additional skills/certifications needed
    18. 18. 18 U4: What (if any) barriers have you encountered while trying to obtain network management training (please think about the entire process – from gaining approval to be trained through trying to complete the actual training)? [open- ended/fill-in-the-blank] Addressing Gaps: IT Pro’s Network Complexity Skillset Nearly one-fourth of IT professionals consider finding the time to train a barrier to training, and slightly less (23%) consider the approval process a barrier (primarily the time and energy needed to convince upper management of the importance of training). 23.5% 22.6% 17.4% 13.9% 11.3% 7.0% 0.9% 0% 25% 50% 75% 100% Time to train Approval process Budget No barriers Training content Other Travel restriction/ban Barriers (if any) to network management training Sampling of Noteworthy Open-Ended Responses Time to Train: “managing work obligations to align with time required for training”, “being overwhelmed with onsite work levels”, “finding time to set aside for study” Approval Process: “management [is not] understanding of the need”, “convincing management [about] the requirement for training” Budget: “budget availability”, “budget constraints”, “budget allocation not sufficient for training”, “cost” Training Content: “finding the right course with the right content to address my needs”, “finding appropriate, affordable training”, “selecting the training that delivers what I want in content” Travel Restriction/Ban: “business freeze on training due to economic environment” Other: “training in different time zones (eg USA vs Australia)”, “putting training into practise”
    19. 19. 19 A6(a,b,c): How much do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements? (please provide the degree to which you agree or disagree with each statement by selecting from 1 (“do not agree at all”) to 10 (“agree completely”): [provided “N/A” as well] Addressing Gaps: IT Pro’s Network Complexity Skillset IT professionals show little agreement that the processes for gaining approval to participate in training or scheduling a time to train on his/her own or with a third party are relatively painless. And IT pros show even less agreement that most/all of their training for skills/certification takes place during work hours (rather than before/after hours) with less than half (48%) in solid/somewhat agreement and nearly one-fourth (24%) disagreeing completely. 5.00 5.02 4.58 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Gaining approval for me to participate in training (ie vendor learning, distance learning, certifications, onsite training, offsite training) is a relatively painless process within my company. Scheduling a time for me to train (ie vendor training, distance learning, certifications, onsite training, offsite training) on my own or with a third party is a relatively painless process. I undertake most/all of my training for needed skills/certification during work hours. (1 (“do not agree at all”)  10 (“agree completely”)) The Continuing Education Process
    20. 20. 20 A5(b,c,d): How much do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements? (please provide the degree to which you agree or disagree with each statement by selecting from 1 (“do not agree at all”) to 10 (“agree completely”): [provided “N/A” as well] Addressing Gaps: IT Pro’s Network Complexity Skillset IT professionals show little agreement on whether today’s higher education is sufficiently preparing the next generation of IT pros to meet tomorrow’s technology demands, yet show more agreement (moderately so) that the amount of training required for graduates entering the IT workforce sufficiently prepares them for entry-level positions. And IT pros agree to an even larger extent (though still moderately so) that graduates should have a “generalist” IT skillset rather than a “specialist” IT skillset. 4.56 5.37 6.44 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Today's higher education (university degree(s) and/or vocational training) is sufficiently preparing the next generation of IT professionals to meet tomorrow's technology demands. The amount of training required for university graduates and vocational graduates entering the IT workforce sufficently prepares them for entry-level positions. University and vocational graduates should have a "generalist" IT skillset (such as network) rather than a "specialist" IT skillset (such as server/application). (1 (“do not agree at all”)  10 (“agree completely”)) Today’s Educational Standards and Tomorrow’s IT Professionals

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