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Annual Study: Hybrid IT Acceleration Has Increased Network Complexity and Lowered Public Sector Tech Pros’ Network Management Confidence

  • SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2022—Getting IT Right: Managing Hybrid IT Complexity examines the current state and areas of opportunity for public sector technology professionals managing increased complexity as hybrid IT accelerates
  • 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
  • More than half (55%) of tech pros said their organisation manages hybrid IT complexity through training staff and adopting IT monitoring/management tools (45%)

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 public sector IT departments. The report found the acceleration of hybrid IT has increased network complexity for some  organisations and caused several worrisome challenges for public sector 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 public sector organisations 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 public sector tech professionals feel less confident in their organisation’s ability to manage IT. While nearly half of public sector tech pro respondents (45%) state they leverage monitoring strategies to manage this complexity, 67% revealed they lack visibility into the majority of their organisation’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 organisations from capitalising on their technology-driven transformation and investments and delivering benefits for end users,” said Sudhakar Ramakrishna , president and CEO, SolarWinds. “As organisations look beyond the pandemic, they must re-examine their investments from the past few years. Part of that requires organisations to have visibility into their IT environments to understand what’s working and not working, and where to prioritise 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, organisations 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.

  • Almost one in five (17%) tech pros responded that the acceleration of hybrid IT has increased the complexity of their public sector organisation’s IT management.
  • These tech pros reported the following top drivers of increased complexity:
    • New tools and/or technologies (50%)
    • Outdated staff skill sets no longer aligned with new technologies (40%)
    • Increased technology requirements from multiple departments (40%)
  • When asked about how confident tech pros were in their organisation’s ability to manage IT complexity:
    • Only 12% of tech pro respondents said they felt extremely confident
    • Half of respondents (50%) admitted they weren’t fully equipped to manage complexity and felt only somewhat confident
    • One-third of tech pro respondents (33%) were confident their organisation is equipped to manage IT complexity adequately
    • An additional 3% were not confident at all

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, 67% of respondents stated they only have visibility into about half or less of their apps and infrastructure.
    • Anomaly detection (57%), correlated metrics (43%), easy root cause analysis (29%), and the ability to gather metrics from disparate systems (29%) were revealed as the top four aspects lacking from respondents who felt their current IT monitoring/management strategies provide visibility into less than half of their apps and infrastructure strategy.

Public Sector Organisations’ lack of insight into their networks impacts ROI. 

  • Most respondents (88%) agreed that 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-six percent of respondents said the IT project in question took an additional four to seven or more months to complete
    • More than half (52%) said the project in question was extended by up to three months

Overcoming IT complexity obstacles and improving ROI will be difficult, with lack of implementation resources looming. 

  • Respondents say the largest barriers to improving visibility and implementing observability as an IT strategy are:
    • Lack of implementation resources (staff, skill sets, and tools) (48%)
    • Lack of knowledge about observability platforms/solutions (38%)
    • Siloed teams (38%)
  •  As it relates to planned investment in IT management tools over the next 12 months:
    • Nearly all (80%) of tech pros responded their organisation plans to invest less than 20% of overall IT budget
    • Only 16% indicated their organisation will invest 20% or more
      • Three percent of all tech pro respondents reported they are unsure or have no insight into their overall IT budget.

There is a planned lack of investment despite the fact nearly half of respondents (45%) said the best solution to manage increased complexity is to adopt IT management tools.

  • Three-quarters (73%) of tech pro respondents state their organisation has prioritised 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 organisations implemented these IT management tools would be:
    • Improved end-user/customer experience (40%)
    • Reduced IT monitoring/management complexity (40%)
    • Cost optimization which drives budget savings (37%)
    • Converged roles and responsibilities which drive collaboration (35%)
  • Other strategies respondents mentioned as important to help to meet complexity issues include:
    • Training staff and upskilling (55%)
    • Adopting IT monitoring and/or management tools (45%)
    • Planning to reduce/consolidate/modernise cloud systems (42%)
  • When asked to select the top ways their organisation’s experience with IT management complexity has influenced future technology investments:
    • 52% of tech pro respondents selected increasing/ramping up investments
    • An additional 45% selected creating new roles/hiring specialists, with a further 45% selecting AI and/or automation solutions to increase efficiency/reduce human error

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 UK Public Sector report are based on a survey fielded in March 2022, which yielded responses from 60 technology practitioners, managers, directors, and senior executives in the United Kingdom from public-sector small, mid-size and enterprise organisations. 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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