London, IP Expo – October 09, 2014: Increasing efficiency will be the number one priority for IT departments in 2015, as organisations look to get more value out of their IT spend, according to research released today by Brocade. The research, taken from a survey of UK-based IT Decision-Makers(ITDMs), found that increasing efficiency is a top priority for 53 percent of IT leaders in 2015. Budget restrictions are the main driver behind this need for efficiency, with just 31 percent of organisations expecting their IT capital expenditure budgets to increase in the coming year, with over two-thirds (69 percent) predicting that budgets will stay flat or decrease.
Despite budgets remaining flat, there is a clear need for change: less than one in three (31 percent) ITDMs are very confident that their existing network infrastructure will be able to cope with the demands likely to be placed on it in the next 12 months. However, with budgets tight, IT leaders are struggling to manage this issue. Thirty-three percent of IT departments are prioritising improvements to existing infrastructure to support business growth in 2015, while 32 percent are focusing on simply keeping their existing infrastructure up and running for another year.
Longer-term, the research found there is a strong appetite among IT leaders for more innovative approaches to networking. This includes moving to the New IP, which is necessary to support the growing demands of mobile technology and cloud computing. Forty percent of respondents said they are planning to deploy Software-Defined Networking (SDN) within the next five years, with 30 percent of those likely to do so in the next three years. Thirty-four percent of organisations are looking to adopt Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) within five years, with 27 percent keen to do so before 2018.
However, there is still a lack of knowledge about these technologies among some businesses. Many of the IT leaders surveyed admitted that they are still unsure of their potential benefits: 37 percent of respondents said that they do not fully understand SDN, with 45 percent saying the same about NFV.
Commenting on the findings, Marcus Jewell, EMEA vice president, Brocade, said: “It is clear from this research that IT departments are under growing pressure to do more with less. With the majority of network architectures predating today’s most influential technologies – from cloud services to mobile computing – it is not surprising that many organisations simply do not have the infrastructure they need to support the business effectively. With budgets remaining tight, the focus for many in 2015 will be on driving greater efficiency. However, a significant number of businesses are looking to SDN and NFV to help create a network fit for the demands of the future. While our findings show that there is growing enthusiasm among IT leaders for these technologies, a significant number still do not fully understand the potential benefits. It’s clear therefore that more education is needed if SDN and NFV are to truly realise a new kind of IP network that is better aligned with the evolution of the rest of IT.”
In the immediate future, there will likely be an increased reliance on cloud services. Sixty-three percent of those surveyed identified cloud computing as the technology that is likely to have the biggest impact on their business in the next year. Server virtualisation and Big Data (19 percent each) were also seen as significant new technologies in 2015, alongside 3D printing (20 percent). Despite rapid consumer adoption of wearable technology, it is not expected to have a significant impact on enterprise IT for some time, with just 12 percent of respondents expecting wearable devices to have any impact on their organisations in the next 12 months.
“Given the focus on efficiency, it is not surprising that many organisations expect to be increasingly reliant on cloud services in the coming year, as this is potentially a great way for IT departments to deliver more value without increasing capital expenditure,” commented Jewell. “Cloud computing – in conjunction with pervasive mobility and the Internet of Things – will also have a major impact on the role of the New IP. These are all network-centric computing models and so will only add to the need for fast, flexible, and reliable connectivity. It is therefore vital that the network is fit-for-purpose so it can enable, rather than inhibit, the expected growth of cloud services.”
Other key findings from the research included:
- Subscription models are set to become more common in all areas of IT. Over a third (34 percent) of ITDMs surveyed said that they would be interested in buying their network infrastructure on a subscription basis.
- Looking ahead to the skills that will be needed by IT leaders in ten years’ time, it is clear that end user preferences will become a major driver of IT decision making. “Understanding how users want to use technology” was identified as a critical attribute for IT leaders by 37 percent of respondents, second only to “technical knowledge” (43 percent).
- In fact, understanding user preferences was considered to be significantly more important than “administering policy controls” (23 percent), “using data to deliver business insights” (20 percent), or even engaging with business leadership or other departments (16 percent and 15 percent, respectively).
- Less than one in five (19 percent) of respondents are very confident that their organisations will have the necessary IT skills to succeed in 2025, suggesting that businesses will need to invest in more training as the role of the IT department evolves.