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Moving Toward a Next Gen IT Workplace

28 Mar, 2013


A recently released second annual TechWatch 2013 report unveiled by Cisco, reveals that 76% of business will be moving to a next generation workspace structure by 2016.
While IT decision makers continue to get to grips with reducing IT complexity while balancing investment against cost-cutting, they still remain positive about addressing core IT challenges.

These include network performance and security threats. At the same time, they will continue to invest in new technologies which will enable new distributed working environments and create next generation workspaces such as IT infrastructure and collaboration technologies.

Key Findings from the Report include, which is based on 500 online interviews with IT decision makers:
•Network performance (51%) and increased security threats (48% enterprises, 44% SMEs) are the most significant challenges facing businesses over the next 12 months.
•After reducing overall IT costs (60% enterprises, 56% SMEs), improving IT security (60%, 55%) and maintaining or improving IT infrastructure (56%) are the main priorities over the coming 12 months.
•Within the next three years,  76% of companies think operations in their organization will be structured on the basis of the most efficient use of skills and resources, regardless of where they are located – 15% (1 in 7) say this is already happening.
•This is reflected in terms of technology investment: enterprises are more likely to have deployed collaborative software (79%) and network performance management (78%), but both enterprises and SMEs have prioritized the investment of remote access technology (78% and 77% respectively).
•Organizations are likely to have reviewed, or are planning to review, operational simplicity (89%) and operational savings (87%).

Increasingly demanding
The report also says that current trends, including bring your own device, Cloud computing, and big data will see end users become increasingly demanding. IT departments will therefore be under pressure to carefully manage these trends while balancing investment against cost-cutting. TechWatch report showing the biggest IT challenges: SaaS/Cloud transition still ranks highly despite increased adoption.

Ian Foddering, CTO of Cisco UKI commented on the report, explaining that with will mean IT will get ‘back to basics’. “The macro challenges which IT decision makers face are clear and well defined, but what TechWatch shows us is how IT intends to meet these challenges. The research shows us that whilst cost-cutting and reducing complexity is important, creating an environment where IT can support – or indeed drive – innovation within the business is paramount.”

Three pillars
The research found that the emerging trends lead to “increasingly decentralized” networks. This means that there will be more concerns over data security and management, but by prioritising the re-evaluation of IT infrastructure, three key pillars will emerge, with an underlying focus on network performance.

These pillars are:
•Simplicity: removing unnecessary complexity
•Protection: securing the network and company assets
•Change & Growth: making IT investments to stay ahead and improve competitiveness

Regarding these three pillars, Foddering continued: “Get the first two right, and you pave the way for innovation, greater connectivity, next generation workspaces and ultimately a shift towards the ‘Internet of Everything.’”

Next generation workspace
Within three years, 76% of those surveyed believe these next generation workspaces will arise as organizations structure their operations on the basis of the most efficient use of skills and resources, regardless of where they are located. However, 15% say this is already happening. This is because business are supporting their distributed work environment by providing remote access to email, mobile equipment, and access to corporate servers. The biggest benefits to this will be improved employee productivity, reduced cost, and improved employee engagement.

However, managing this diverse range of technologies like Cloud, alongside devices, the cost of collaboration, and difficulties in governance and control will be some of the biggest challenges. 83% of SMEs think it would be useful to centrally manage their network infrastructure from the Cloud.

“There is overwhelming support for greater remote working, and it is encouraging that businesses are taking measures to protect important information and help maximize data security,” Foddering continued. “However, simplifying and protecting an organization’s infrastructure can only take you so far. In order for businesses to prepare themselves for the future, they must be willing to embrace change and use it to drive, rather than inhibit, growth. Foddering concludes, “The network lies at the heart of much of this change. Networking performance was found to be the greatest challenge facing IT at the moment, up significantly (15%) amongst enterprises compared to 2011. Organizations will need to work closely with strategic partners, like Cisco, who understand the needs of the public and private sector and who can guide them through change, if they are to successfully solve today's business problems and shape their organization for the future.”
*(Technology information resourced by Andy Price PM)




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