A global study announced today by Cisco revealed that while the majority (63 percent) of IT professionals are confident in their ability to respond to the needs of the business, almost a third (27 percent) still equated the visibility of their IT department into their company's business initiatives to "a foggy day in London."
The 2013 Cisco Global IT Impact Survey provides insight into IT's role as a business enabler, assesses the extent by which network investments are keeping pace with the demands of the business, and looks into IT's likelihood to adopt new technologies that can increase IT business impact.
The top research findings reveal:
- Applications and user expectations are becoming more complex: almost three-fourths of IT participants (71 percent) reported that IT is deploying more applications today than one year ago.
- IT and the network are increasingly recognized as enabling the business: a higher percentage (78 percent) stated the network is more critical for delivering applications than it was at this time last year.
- IT-business alignment is improving, but IT is not always involved when the decisions are made: nearly nine out of 10 (89 percent) IT leaders collaborate with line of business leaders at least on a monthly basis, indicating a mutual business understanding of the critical and growing role of the network for application delivery. However, more than one-third (38 percent) of IT professionals surveyed said they are brought into the planning and deployment process late.
"More than ever, IT has the potential to make a profound impact on the business -- and an opportunity to act as a strategic partner -- by building a network architecture that can leverage multiple technology transitions," said Rob Soderbery, senior vice president and general manager, Cisco Enterprise Networking Group. "The most successful IT professionals are those who acknowledge that fast decision-making within the enterprise is directly tied to the readiness of the network."
Other key findings from the study include:
- Even with the business understanding of the growing role of the network for application delivery, 82 percent of respondents acknowledged that user experience with standard business applications is affected by network performance, even in basic applications such as Web, file services and email.
- When asked about the leading causes responsible for slowing down a new application rollout over the past year, most cited budget (34 percent), while 26 percent of respondents claimed data center infrastructure readiness, cloud readiness and network limitations such as bandwidth. One-quarter (25 percent) cited "general procrastination" as the leading cause.
- 71percent are planning to deploy SDN solutions in the next 12 months. The main reasons? One-third (33 percent) cite cost savings, while another third (33 percent) said fast scalability of infrastructure.
- Almost three quarters (71 percent) report IT is deploying more applications than a year ago, but 41 percent claimed their networks were not ready to support "bring your own device" (BYOD) policies, while 38 percent said they were not ready to support cloud deployments.
- When asked to gauge their readiness for Internet of Things applications and deployments, nearly half (48 percent) believe it will open up new business opportunities.
- Survey participants ranked cloud readiness (29 percent) as the most important network initiative to their business in the upcoming year, followed by "converging IT technology and operations technology" (28 percent) and "data center consolidation/virtualization" (27 percent).
- When asked to rank the most difficult IT initiative over the past year, moving applications to the cloud (40 percent) ranked first, with data center virtualization ranking second (38 percent). This data aligns with the 2012 Cisco Global Cloud Networking Survey, which found that some IT professionals would rather get a root canal, dig a ditch, or do their own taxes than address network challenges associated with cloud deployments.