Innovation and business agility hampered by inadequate technology and skills in UK organisations

However, despite these constraints, organisations are making positive steps toward desktop virtualisation and the adoption of Cloud-based operations.

The survey of 300 UK IT directors and managers sought views on the efficacy of current IT infrastructure, views on SDN (software defined networking), the adoption of the Cloud, managed services, VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) and the availability of IT skills.

IT infrastructure and skills gap inhibiting business development
The survey highlighted that nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) of those interviewed say their IT development is constrained by their current infrastructure while even more (65 per cent) struggle to find recruits with the necessary skills and know how to get the most out of complex IT infrastructure and systems. As Deborah Robertson, marketing director of 8×8 Solutions UK explains, ‘Companies that don’t consider moving all or part of their infrastructure to the Cloud risk carrying the burden of outmoded on-premises systems that thwart productivity and drain profits. A good cloud solution will offer a flexible, scalable infrastructure, combined with ease of use and management simplicity’.

New technology adoption
Despite the difficulties IT decision makers are facing, there is a sense that IT professionals are realising the benefits of the implementation of more agile operations. The research shows that organisations are taking steps towards the implementation of desktop virtualisation, data centre operations and limited adoption of cloud-based environments.

The growth of VDI
This is shown by respondents embracing a more flexible working environment with more than a quarter (27 per cent) of those surveyed having implemented local virtual desktops and 18 percent desktop-as-a-service (DaaS). Yet, only 21 per cent is considering either VDI or DaaS in the near future.

SDN – a mixed picture
The results suggest an encouraging adoption of SDN in business. Four out of ten interviewees say they are adopting software-defined networking (SDN) in their data centre while one in six (16 per cent) is implementing SDN on premise. ‘As companies start to realise the ease of management of an SDN architecture with practical implementations, it will become readily evident where the benefits lie.’ Jason King, director of marketing, ADTRAN Bluesocket Business Group explains.

Yet many others are more cautious over SDN and there is an apparent lack of understanding to what SDN actually is and means for businesses. One third is either watching developments or doesn’t have any SDN plans. A surprising one in eight (12 per cent) respondents is unfamiliar with the concept of SDN.

Confusion over the Cloud
Unsurprisingly, industry professionals are divided over the general advance of hybrid cloud strategies. Just under half (47 per cent) agree with Gartner’s prediction that most businesses will soon be using hybrid cloud services but over half (52 per cent) disagree to some extent. We are all talking about it but it is unclear as to whether we are ‘all in’ or ‘out’ when it comes to the Cloud.

The effect of purchasing decisions on business efficiency
Understandably most senior IT professionals interviewed take a pragmatic approach to corporate IT and network purchasing, with more than four out of five (81 per cent) admitting that they prefer to stick with one or a limited amount of suppliers. A huge 86 percent don’t want to change their relationships with key vendors.

However, these findings reinforce the view that IT professionals are struggling to get the most out of their IT infrastructure due to ineffective purchasing behaviour.

Almost three quarters (73 per cent) admit to searching for requirements and then using the cheapest option and 65 percent admit to relying heavily on Internet searches to provide them with the correct information and suppliers. As Feroze Engineer from Xenith Document Systems says, ‘Relying on the internet for information and suppliers is fine as long as you look for advice from independent analysts who don’t have a hidden agenda. Choose a supplier that has the capability to meet your needs now, as well as in the future, when your organisation has grown, and its needs have grown with it’.

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