Source - GNW
  • The SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2018 reveals containers are a top investment priority today over technology like artificial intelligence
  • Automation ranked as the technology with the greatest potential to deliver the highest ROI by German IT Professionals
  • Optimizing IT performance remains an elusive challenge
  • Study also points to need for better integration with top leaders on IT investment priorities

CORK, Ireland, April 11, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- SolarWinds, a leading provider of powerful and affordable IT management software, today released the findings of its annual state-of-the-industry study. The new study reveals the state of today's IT landscape: IT professionals are continuing to prioritize investments in cloud computing as they grapple with how to leverage the benefits of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. A juxtaposition of the findings with other independent research also suggests a misalignment between the IT investment priorities of the practitioners surveyed and their leaders.

The IT Trends Report 2018: The Intersection of Hype and Performance, the company's annual report on IT trends, explores the spectrum of today's existing and emerging technologies and the extent to which they are disrupting IT and optimizing the performance of environments as organizations progress in their digital transformation journeys.

Overall, German IT professionals are prioritizing investments in cloud computing and hybrid IT more than any other technology; 86 percent of respondents indicate that cloud/hybrid IT are one of the top five most important technologies to their organization's IT strategy today. By contrast, just two years ago over one-third of IT professionals indicated, as part of the SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2016: The Hybrid IT Evolutionthat cloud computing was somewhat important or not important at all. While AI and machine learning are not currently the highest priorities for IT professionals, optimizing cloud/hybrid IT environments creates a critical pathway to eventually deploy and capture the compelling benefits of these emerging technologies.

When it comes to the technology with the greatest potential to deliver productivity/efficiency benefits and the highest ROI over the next five years though, automation takes the lead. This is in contrast to all other countries surveyed, where cloud/hybrid IT ranked in first place here as well. Moreover, German IT professionals rank IoT third when it comes to technologies/management tools needed for digital transformation over the next three to five years.

However, the rapid adoption of new technologies has created environments that are not optimized for peak performance. Nearly half (49 percent) of the survey respondents indicate their environments are not optimized and over one-third reported spending 50 percent or more of their time reactively maintaining and troubleshooting. In increasing numbers, IT professionals appear to be addressing the challenges introduced by the cloud and hybrid IT through investment in containers: 41 percent of respondents ranked containers as the most important technology priorities today, a significant jump in adoption when compared to the SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2017: Portrait of a Hybrid IT Organization, in which just 24 percent of IT professionals planned to develop containerization skills in the year ahead.

At the same time, IT professional respondents also cite inadequate organizational strategy (55 percent) and infrastructure (36 percent) as common barriers to system optimization. Ultimately, to keep pace with changing environments and achieve successful digital transformation, today's IT professionals require new skillsets and deeper strategic collaboration with business leaders.

"The narrative in today's IT industry revolves around transformative technologies like AI, machine learning, blockchain, and more. These technologies are unquestionably important, but the results of this year's study reveal that IT professionals are still prioritizing investments in technologies that help run day-to-day operations, and choosing initiatives that deliver more immediate value," said Joe Kim, executive vice president and global chief technology officer, SolarWinds. "The SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2018 shows IT professionals are focusing in on proven technologies that deliver value today, like cloud and containers, with an eye toward automation and AI for tomorrow."

"This is how most IT professionals currently are optimizing their environments to help unlock additional performance for their organizations," he added.

2018 Key Findings

The SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2018: The Intersection of Hype and Performance, explores IT professionals' view about what is happening in their technology worlds, and how their organizations are prioritizing existing and emerging technologies. Key findings show that:

Cloud computing and hybrid IT will remain a top priority for IT professionals for the next five years, as these elements meet today's business needs while serving as the backbone to trends like machine learning (ML) and AI.

  • 86 percent of IT professionals surveyed indicate that cloud and hybrid IT are among the top five most important technologies in their IT organization's technology strategy today, with 46 percent listing cloud/hybrid IT as their most important technology.
     
  • When ranking most important technologies today and for digital transformation over the next three to five years, IT professionals ranked cloud/hybrid IT the number one priority.                
    • Automation ranked as the technology with the greatest potential to deliver productivity/efficiency benefits and deliver the highest ROI.
    • IT professionals ranked IoT as number three when it comes to technologies/management tools needed for digital transformation over the next three to five years.

At the same time, IT professionals are prioritizing internal investments in containers as a proven solution to the challenges of cloud computing and hybrid IT and a key enabler of innovation.

  • 41 percent of respondents ranked containers as the most important technology priority today, and 33 percent of respondents ranked containers as the most important technology priority three to five years from now.
    • The ability for container deployments to simplify application challenges introduced by hybrid IT has caused IT professionals' investment in container technology to skyrocket in the last 12 months: according to the 2017 SolarWinds IT Trends Report: Portrait of a Hybrid IT Organization, only 24 percent of respondents had planned to develop containerization skills in the year ahead. 
       
  • Concurrently, AI and ML investments are expected to gain importance over the next three to five years.
    • 49 percent of respondents indicate that AI is the primary priority and 45 percent of respondents indicate machine learning is the biggest priority three to five years from now (compared to 31 percent and 38 percent today, respectively).
    • Cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services(TM) and Microsoft® Azure® are investing heavily in AI technologies and capabilities, which presents an opportunity for IT professionals to leverage existing investment in cloud offerings to experiment with and deploy AI-based services in their organizations.

The results of the IT Trends Survey suggest a dissonance between the views of IT professionals and their senior managers on priorities for IT investment over the next three to five years.

  • On the weighted list of technologies IT professionals believe are needed for an IT organization's digital transformation over the next three to five years, AI-while gaining in importance-only just made the top five.
    • This contrasts with a recent CEO survey by Fortune, which found that 81 percent of CEOs consider AI and machine learning to be a priority for their business, up from just 54 percent in 2016.               
    • As AI and machine learning continue to mature, IT professionals will be required to have a fundamental understanding of these technologies and their capabilities to act as an educated liaison for business leadership when it comes time to consider the benefits of adoption.

While IT professionals continue prioritizing cloud computing and hybrid IT, adoption of these technologies has made it challenging to optimize performance of their systems and applications.

  • IT professionals surveyed indicated that by weighted rank, cloud/hybrid IT is the greatest challenge when it comes to implementation, rollout, and day-to-day performance. This is followed by IoT and automation.
  • Nearly half (49 percent) of all IT professionals surveyed think that their IT environments are not operating at optimal levels.
    • Nearly three-fifths of all IT professionals surveyed spend less than 25 percent of their time proactively optimizing performance, and less than one in 20 IT professionals spend 75 percent or more of their time doing so.
    • Over one-third of IT professionals spend 50 percent or more of their time reactively maintaining and troubleshooting their IT environment.
  • This echoes findings from the 2017 SolarWinds IT Trends Report: Portrait of a Hybrid IT Organization, in which 34 percent of IT pros surveyed who migrated critical applications and infrastructure to the cloud ultimately brought back/left area(s) on-premises due to security/compliance concerns, followed by technical challenges with actual migration.

Many IT professionals cite a lack of organizational strategy and inadequate investment in areas such as user training as the most common barriers to system optimization.

  • Of IT professionals indicating their environments are not optimized, inadequate organizational strategy is the number one barrier to achieving optimization, followed closely by inadequate infrastructure and inadequate investment in other areas, such as user training (by weighted rank).
    • To achieve true performance and work towards a successful digital transformation, IT professionals require deeper strategic collaboration with business leaders.

To explore and interact with all of the 2018 findings, please visit the SolarWinds IT Trends Index, a dynamic web experience that presents the study's findings by region, including charts, graphs, socially shareable elements, and additional insights into the data.

The findings of this year's German report are based on a survey fielded in December 2017, which yielded responses from 127 IT practitioners, managers, and directors in Germany from public- and private-sector small, mid-size, and enterprise companies. All regions studied in 2018, as reported on the SolarWinds IT Trends Index, were North America, Australia, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the United Kingdom, with 803 respondents across all geographies combined.

Additional Resources

Past SolarWinds IT Trends Reports

Connect with SolarWinds

About SolarWinds
SolarWinds provides powerful and affordable IT management software to customers worldwide, from Fortune 500® enterprises to small businesses, managed service providers (MSPs), government agencies, and educational institutions. We are committed to focusing exclusively on IT, MSP, and DevOps professionals, and strive to eliminate the complexity that our customers have been forced to accept from traditional enterprise software vendors. Regardless of where the IT asset or user sits, SolarWinds delivers products that are easy to find, buy, use, maintain, and scale while providing the power to address key areas of the infrastructure from on-premises to the cloud. This focus and commitment to excellence in end-to-end hybrid IT performance management has established SolarWinds as the worldwide leader in both network management software and MSP solutions, and is driving similar growth across the full spectrum of IT management software. Our solutions are rooted in our deep connection to our user base, which interacts in our THWACK online community to solve problems, share technology and best practices, and directly participate in our product development process. Learn more today at www.solarwinds.com.

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Source: SolarWinds Worldwide, LLC via Globenewswire