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North America IT Pros Survey: Network Complexity

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A look at network complexity, its drivers, needed skillsets,
and levels of concern among IT professionals in North America.

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North America IT Pros Survey: Network Complexity

  1. 1. 1IT Pros Survey: North AmericaA look at network complexity, its drivers, needed skillsets,and levels of concern among IT professionals in North AmericaConducted by C White ConsultingMay/June 2013
  2. 2. 2Study Overview: areas of discussion» What are the top drivers impacting network complexity?» How concerned are IT pros about their ability to besuccessful in regard to network complexity given theirexisting skillset?» How should any gaps in an IT pro’s network complexityskillset 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, virtualization,etc.) as well as the ever-increasing responsibilities placed on IT professionals from an IT operationsperspective (by supporting new service offerings such as cloud, mobility, etc.) and business operationsperspective (such as security or compliance)
  3. 3. 3Demographics: breakdown of survey respondents225 IT practitioners, managers and directors in the U.S. and Canada (86% U.S., 14% Canada) from public- andprivate-sector small, mid-size and enterprise companies participated in a May/June 2013 online survey4%12%13%12%9%16%32%Company Size(number of employees)50-99 FTEs100-249 FTEs250-499 FTEs500-999 FTEs1000-1499 FTEs1500-4999 FTEs5000+ FTEs44%30%21%4% 2%IT Pro’s RolePractitionerManagerDirectorIT ConsultantOther IT-related49%48%3%Public/Private Sector SplitPublic SectorPrivate SectorIts Complicated
  4. 4. 4Drivers that ImpactNetwork Complexity
  5. 5. 53.263.182.762.612.471 2 3 4 5Smarter equipment and/ormore complex equipmentCompute virtualizationSoftware Defined Networks(SDN)/virtual networksVideoconferencing/telepresenceVendor proliferationTechnology DriversA1: Please rank which of the following technologies increase networkcomplexity the most for the networks that you manage with “1” meaning “mostimpactful to network complexity” and “5” meaning “least impactful to networkcomplexity”, using each number only once: [provided “other” fill-in blankoption and “N/A-do not use/manage” option as well]Top Drivers Impacting Network Complexity#1#2The majority of IT professionals surveyed indicated that smarter equipment and/or more complex equipment(for example, you used to need 3 pieces of equipment to do what a single piece of equipment can do today)and compute virtualization are the top two technology drivers increasing network complexity today.
  6. 6. 64.504.413.863.723.663.623.371 2 3 4 5 6 7Bring Your Own Device(BYOD)MobilityVoice/Voice over InternetProtocol (VoIP)Distributed workforce and/ortelecommuters/work-from-…Public cloud or Software as aService (SaaS)Private cloudVideo distribution and/orvideo conferencingDrivers in IT OperationsA2: IT professionals are increasingly asked to take on additionalresponsibilities as new IT service offerings emerge. Please rank which of thefollowing areas increase network complexity the most for the networks thatyou manage with “1” meaning “most impactful to network complexity” and “7”meaning “least impactful to network complexity”, using each number onlyonce: [provided “other” fill-in blank option and “N/A-do not use/manage”option as well]Top Drivers Impacting Network Complexity#1#2IT professionals surveyed indicated that Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and mobility”are the top two areaswithin IT Operations impacting network complexity today.
  7. 7. 72.271.751.681 2 3Security (for example, denialof service (DoS)attacks, Adobe vulnerabilities)Compliance (forexample, Payment CardIndustry-Data SecurityStandard (PCI-…Auditing (for example, ITaudits due to PCI-DSS, EUData ProtectionDirective, HIPAA and other…Drivers inBusiness OperationsA3: IT professionals are increasingly asked to take on additionalresponsibilities as new business operations requirements emerge. Please rankwhich of the following areas increase network complexity the most for thenetworks that you manage with “1” meaning “most impactful to networkcomplexity” and “3” meaning “least impactful to network complexity”, usingeach number only once: [provided “other” fill-in blank option and “N/A-do notuse/manage” option as well]Top Drivers Impacting Network Complexity#1The majority of IT professionals surveyed indicated that security (for example, denial of service (DoS)attacked, Adobe vulnerabilities) is the top Business Operations driver increasing network complexity today.
  8. 8. 8IT Pro’s Level of Concern regardingTheir Network Complexity Skillset
  9. 9. 9A3: Based on the definition of “network complexity” above, how much hasincreased network complexity changed your IT role/responsibilities within thelast 3-5 years? [choose one: “it has greatly affected myrole/responsibilities”, “it has somewhat affected …”, “it has not affected …”, “donot know”]Level of Concern: IT Pro’s Network Complexity SkillsetOver 92% of IT professionals said network complexity has either somewhat affected or greatly affectedtheir role/responsibilities within the last 3-5 years.43%49%6%2%Impact of Network Complexity on IT Rolein Last 3-5 YearsIt has greatly affected myrole/responsibilitiesIt has somewhat affectedmy role/responsibilitiesIt has not affected myrole/responsibilitiesDo not know
  10. 10. 10A4(b,c,e): How much do you agree or disagree with each of the followingstatements? (please provide the degree to which you agree or disagree witheach statement by selecting from 1 (“do not agree at all”) to 10 (“agreecompletely”): [provided “N/A” as well]Level of Concern: IT Pro’s Network Complexity SkillsetThe majority of IT professionals responding agree that their existing skillset has fully prepared them to deployall the IT network management solution(s) necessary to manage their company’s current complexitychallenges; however, IT pros also agree (moderately so) that they are concerned regarding their ability tosucceed given ever-increasing responsibilities that directly impact network complexity.5.556.046.141 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10With my existing skillset, I am concerned about my ability to succeed giventhe new technologies (such as smarter equipment) and ever-increasing IToperations (such as cloud) and business operations (such as compliance)responsibilities Ive been given, aWith my existing skillset, I am fully prepared to deploy all the IT networkmanagement solution(s) necessary to manage our current networkcomplexity 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 Network Complexity drivers hinder an IT Pro’s success given his/herexisting skillset?
  11. 11. 11A4(a,d): How much do you agree or disagree with each of the followingstatements? (please provide the degree to which you agree or disagree witheach statement by selecting from 1 (“do not agree at all”) to 10 (“agreecompletely”): [provided “N/A” as well]Level of Concern: IT Pro’s Network Complexity SkillsetMost IT professionals agree (moderately so) that their company is prepared for growing network complexitychallenges, yet slightly less IT pros agree that they have already invested in all of the IT network managementsolution(s) necessary to address current network complexity challenges.5.145.861 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10My company has already invested in all of the IT network managementsolution(s) necessary to address our current network complexitychallenges.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 forgrowing network complexity challenges?
  12. 12. 12A9: What else does your company still need to do/obtain in order to be asprepared as possible for growing network complexity? (please choose all thatapply) [provided “other” fill-in-the-blank response as well]Level of Concern: IT Pro’s Network Complexity SkillsetOver 70% of IT professionals feel that their company still needs to train IT staff in order to be as prepared aspossible for growing network complexity. This percentage remains consistent across small, mid-sized andenterprise business sizes.71.9%55.3%54.8%52.2%47.8%2.2%0% 25% 50% 75% 100%Train IT staffBetter prioritize existing IT resourcesIncrease IT budgetAdd network management tools/SWIncrease IT staffOtherWhat else does an IT pro’s company still need to do/obtain in order tobe as prepared as possible for growing network complexity?
  13. 13. 13Addressing Gaps in an IT Pro’sNetwork Complexity Skillset
  14. 14. 14A10: What is the single most important skill/skillset needed TODAY by ITprofessionals to combat the challenges of network complexity? (please chooseonly one) [provided “other” fill-in-the-blank response as well]Addressing Gaps: IT Pro’s Network Complexity SkillsetOver one-fourth of all IT professionals feel that understanding of the business is the single most importantskillset needed today to combat the challenges of network complexity, followed closely by network engineeringand information security. Sliced by company size, one-third of all IT pros in companies with 250-999 employeesfelt understanding of the business was the single most important skillset needed today.26.7%22.7%18.7%9.3%6.7%6.2%4.4%3.6%1.8%0% 25% 50% 75% 100%Understanding of the businessNetwork engineeringInformation securityProject managementMobile applications and device managementCompute virtualizationCloud or SaaSOtherServer managementThe single most important skillset needed today by IT prosto combat the challenges of network complexity:
  15. 15. 15A5(a): How much do you agree or disagree with each of the followingstatements? (please provide the degree to which you agree or disagree witheach statement by selecting from 1 (“do not agree at all”) to 10 (“agreecompletely”): [provided “N/A” as well]Addressing Gaps: IT Pro’s Network Complexity SkillsetMost IT professionals agree (moderately so) that their higher education sufficiently prepared them for theircurrent IT role.5.351 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10My higher education (university degree(s)and/or vocational training) sufficientlyprepared me for my current IT role.(1 (“do not agree at all”)  10 (“agree completely”))Did higher education sufficiently prepare IT prosfor their current IT roles?
  16. 16. 16A11: What will be the single most important skill/skillset needed IN FIVE YEARSby IT professionals to combat the challenges of network complexity? (pleasechoose only one) [provided “other” fill-in-the-blank response as well]Addressing Gaps: IT Pro’s Network Complexity SkillsetInformation security surpasses understanding of the business (today’s single most important skillset) when ITpros look 5 years into the future to determine what will be the single most important skillset needed to combatthe future challenges of network complexity. And cloud or Software as a Service (SaaS) jumps up oneveryone’s skillset radar as well.21.3%19.6%17.8%11.6%10.2%9.8%6.7%2.2%0.4%0% 25% 50% 75% 100%Information securityUnderstanding of the businessCloud or SaaSMobile applications and device managementNetwork engineeringCompute virtualizationProject managementServer managementOtherThe single most important skillset needed in 5 years by IT prosto combat the future challenges of network complexity:
  17. 17. 17A7: If you did not already possess the single most important skill neededTODAY to combat the challenges of network complexity, how would yourealistically 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 SkillsetNearly two-thirds of IT professionals would obtain training in order to gain necessary skills/certifications forcombating network complexity. Over half would increase their experience/expertise organically, and 40% wouldparticipate in peer-to-peer learning such as forums and best practices.64.0%54.7%40.4%39.6%35.1%28.4%28.0%13.8%2.2%0% 25% 50% 75% 100%Obtain trainingIncrease experience/expertise organicallyParticipate in peer-to-peer learning (such as…Participate in vendor learningObtain certificationTurn to online influencers/resourcesParticipate in distance learningGain an/another university degree (undergraduate…OtherResources used for obtainingany additional skills/certifications needed
  18. 18. 18U4: What (if any) barriers have you encountered while trying to obtain networkmanagement training (please think about the entire process – from gainingapproval to be trained through trying to complete the actual training)? [open-ended/fill-in-the-blank]Addressing Gaps: IT Pro’s Network Complexity SkillsetOver one-third of IT professionals consider budget constraints a barrier to training, and one-fourth considerfinding the time to train another barrier.35.1%23.6%14.7%14.7%4.9%4.4%2.7%0% 25% 50% 75% 100%BudgetTime to trainApproval processNo barriersTraining contentOtherTravel restriction/banBarriers (if any) to network management trainingSampling of Noteworthy Open-Ended ResponsesBudget: “lack of budget”, “training first to go in budgetcuts”, “increasing cost of training for certifications is an issue”Time to Train: “time away from existing workload”, “short-staffed”Approval Process: “[lack of] management understanding of theROI”, “explaining to management the necessity oftraining”, “company [execs] don’t understand the urgency andcomplexity of needed training”, “showing need for the training iscomplex and time consuming …”Training Content: “difficulty finding quality programs notrehashing old ideas”, “finding the proper training that addressesmy needs”, “offsite vendors being prepared to cover anddemonstrate new technologies when you take their courses”Travel Restriction/Ban: “unable to go to out-of-towntraining”, “our company is under a travel ban, all training mustbe local or distance learning”, “lack of training institutes in myarea”Other: “difficult to ramp up quickly on all needed training”
  19. 19. 19A6(a,b,c): How much do you agree or disagree with each of the followingstatements? (please provide the degree to which you agree or disagree witheach statement by selecting from 1 (“do not agree at all”) to 10 (“agreecompletely”): [provided “N/A” as well]Addressing Gaps: IT Pro’s Network Complexity SkillsetIT professionals show little agreement on how painless a process it is to schedule a time to train on their own orwith a third party; however, they do agree (moderately so) that gaining approval to participate in training is arelatively painless process, and that most/all of their training for skills/certification takes place during work hours.5.294.985.581 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10Gaining approval for me to participate in training (ie vendorlearning, distance learning, certifications, onsite training, offsitetraining) is a relatively painless process within my company.Scheduling a time for me to train (ie vendor training, distancelearning, certifications, onsite training, offsite training) on my ownor with a third party is a relatively painless process.I undertake most/all of my training for needed skills/certificationduring work hours.(1 (“do not agree at all”)  10 (“agree completely”))The Continuing Education Process
  20. 20. 20A5(b,c,d): How much do you agree or disagree with each of the followingstatements? (please provide the degree to which you agree or disagree witheach statement by selecting from 1 (“do not agree at all”) to 10 (“agreecompletely”): [provided “N/A” as well]Addressing Gaps: IT Pro’s Network Complexity SkillsetIT professionals show little agreement on whether today’s higher education is sufficiently preparing the nextgeneration of IT pros to meet tomorrow’s technology demands; however, they do agree (moderately so) that theamount of training required for graduates entering the IT workforce sufficiently prepares them for entry-levelpositions, and that graduates should have a “generalist” IT skillset rather than a “specialist” IT skillset.5.065.796.501 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10Todays higher education (university degree(s) and/or vocationaltraining) is sufficiently preparing the next generation of ITprofessionals to meet tomorrows technology demands.The amount of training required for university graduates andvocational graduates entering the IT workforce sufficently preparesthem for entry-level positions.University and vocational graduates should have a "generalist" ITskillset (such as network) rather than a "specialist" IT skillset (suchas server/application).(1 (“do not agree at all”)  10 (“agree completely”))Today’s Educational Standards and Tomorrow’s IT Professionals

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