SolarWinds IT Trends report: Hybrid IT Acceleration Has Increased Network Complexity and Lowered Tech Pros’ Network Management Confidence

SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2022—Getting IT Right: Managing Hybrid IT Complexity

  • The continued shift to hybrid IT drives increased levels of IT management complexity, but tech pros feel a lack of confidence in how to best manage it
  • Nearly half (41%) of tech pros said their organization manages hybrid IT complexity through training staff and adopting IT monitoring/management tools (40%)

SolarWinds (NYSE:SWI), a leading provider of simple, powerful, and secure IT management software, released the findings of its ninth annual IT Trends Report today. This year’s report, The SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2022—Getting IT Right: Managing Hybrid IT Complexity, examines the acceleration of digital transformation efforts and its impact on IT departments. The report found the acceleration of hybrid IT has increased network complexity for most organizations and caused several worrisome challenges for IT professionals.

Hybrid and remote work have amplified the impact of distributed and complex IT environments. Running workloads and applications across both cloud and on-premises infrastructure can be challenging, and many organizations are increasingly experiencing—and ultimately hindered by—these pain points. According to a report by IDC, as more and more mission-critical workloads move to connected cloud architectures that span public, private, hybrid, and multi-cloud environments, enterprises recognize they need to invest in the tools that will help them ensure consistent policies and performance across all platforms and end users1.  However, they simultaneously face challenges such as budget, time constraints, and barriers to implementing observability as a strategy to keep pace with hybrid IT realities.    

The new SolarWinds report also found tech professionals feel less confident in their organization’s ability to manage IT. While nearly half (40%) of tech pro respondents state they leverage monitoring strategies to manage this complexity, 56% revealed they lack visibility into the majority of their organization’s apps and infrastructure. This lack of visibility impacts their ability to conduct 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 for end users,” said Sudhakar Ramakrishna, president and CEO, SolarWinds. “As organizations look beyond the pandemic, they must re-examine their investments from the past few years. Part of that requires organizations to have visibility into their IT environments to understand what’s working and not working, and where to prioritize their efforts to achieve the ROI targeted in their planned projects.”

“Observability is increasingly becoming the clear answer for tech pros charged with managing greater levels of complexity in these diverse and distributed environments spanning on-premises, private and public clouds,” added Ramakrishna. “However, organizations must set aside time and resources to upskill and train tech pros to help them properly implement observability strategies and manage hybrid IT realities more effectively—and set up their teams and business for success in the long run.”

2022 Key Findings

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

  • One in four tech pros (26%) responded the acceleration of hybrid IT has increased the complexity of their organization’s IT management.
  • These tech pros reported the following top drivers of increased complexity:
    • Increased technology requirements from multiple departments (54%)
    • New tools and/or technologies (39%)
    • Inefficient change management processes (39%)
  • Interestingly, 67% of small businesses indicated increased technology requirements from multiple departments were the leading cause for increased complexity, compared to 50% of their mid-size and enterprise counterparts.
  • When asked about how confident tech pros were in their organization’s ability to manage IT complexity:
    • Only 19% of tech pro respondents said they felt extremely confident
    • 40% admitted they weren’t fully equipped to manage complexity and felt only somewhat confident
    • A third (33%) of tech pro respondents were confident their organization is equipped to manage IT complexity adequately
    • An additional 8% weren’t confident at all
  • When tech pros’ level of confidence is considered by business size, confidence levels increased among enterprise and mid-size businesses:
    • More than half (55%) of mid-size tech pros said they’re confident (44%) or extremely confident (11%) in managing IT complexity, while 57% of enterprise tech pros said they’re confident (32%) or extremely confident (25%).
    • Meanwhile, small businesses experienced the lowest level of confidence, with only 26% of respondents saying they’re confident.

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

  • When asked about current IT monitoring/management strategies, 56% of respondents stated they only have visibility into about half or less of their apps and infrastructure.
  • By business size, 41% of mid-size business tech pro respondents and 30% of enterprise tech pro respondents indicated their organization provides visibility into most of their apps and infrastructure compared to only 29% of their small business counterparts.
    • The ability to gather metrics from disparate systems (50%), anomaly detection (45%), and correlated alerts (45%) were revealed as the top three aspects lacking from respondents who felt their current IT monitoring/management strategies provide visibility into less than half of their apps and infrastructure strategy.

Organizations’ lack of insight into their networks impacts ROI.

  • Nearly all respondents (81%) agreed return on investment (ROI) was impacted during an IT project they oversaw in the past 12–18 months due to increased hybrid IT complexity.
    • Thirty-three percent of respondents said the IT project in question took an additional four to seven months or more to complete
    • Forty-four percent said the project in question was extended by up to three months
  • By business size, a larger percentage of small business tech pro respondents (29%) indicated a shorter delay of one to four weeks to achieve expected ROI when compared to their mid-size (19%) and enterprise counterparts (16%).

Overcoming IT complexity obstacles and improving ROI will be difficult, with budget and time constraints looming.

  • Respondents say the largest barriers to improving visibility and implementing observability as an IT strategy are:
    • Outdated technology environments (41%)
    • Lack of resources (33%)
    • Lack of budget (32%)
  • Interestingly, a larger percentage of mid-size (41%) and enterprise (36%) tech pro respondents reported time constraints as a barrier compared to their small business counterparts (26%).
  • As it relates to planned investment in IT management tools over the next 12 months:
    • Nearly all (81%) of tech pros responded their organization plans to invest less than 20% of overall IT budget
    • Only 9% indicated their organization will invest 20% or more

There is a planned lack of investment despite the fact more than one-third of respondents (40%) said the best solution to manage increased complexity is to adopt IT management tools.

  • More than half (57%) of tech pro respondents state their organization has prioritized adopting a hybrid IT strategy for their technology environment within the next three years.
  • The biggest areas of impact respondents expect to see if their organizations implemented these IT management tools would be:
    • Increased productivity (38%)
    • Improved security (34%)
    • Cost optimization which drives budget savings (33%)
    • Heightened performance of apps (33%)
  • Other strategies respondents mentioned as important to help to meet complexity issues include:
    • Investing in automation tools (48%)
    • Outsourcing IT services (41%)
    • Training staff and upskilling (41%)
    • Adopt IT monitoring/management tools (40%)
  • When asked to select the top ways their organization’s experience with IT management complexity has influenced future technology investments:
    • 44% of tech pro respondents selected providing access to skills development training
    • An additional 38% said testing large-scale rollouts via pilot programs first
  • As business size increases, so does the percentage of tech pros stating their organization provides access to skills development training.
    • More than half (55%) of enterprise tech pro respondents selected providing access to skills development training when asked how IT management complexity has influenced their organizations’ future tech investments compared to 34% of their small business counterparts

Please visit the SolarWinds IT Trends Index, a dynamic web experience exploring the study’s findings and additional insights into the data broken down by region into charts, graphs, and socially shareable elements. Like previous IT Trends Reports, this year’s study features an interactive component where visitors to the web experience can see how they compare to the results.

The findings of this year’s Singapore report are based on a survey fielded in March 2022, which yielded responses from 106 technology practitioners, managers, directors, and senior executives in Singapore from public- and private-sector small, mid-size and enterprise organizations. All regions studied in 2022, as reported on the SolarWinds IT Trends Index, were North America, Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, the Middle East, and the United Kingdom, with 1,138 respondents across all geographies combined.

1IDC Market Forecast: Worldwide Intelligent CloudOps Software Forecast 2021-2025, July 2021

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