Gartner: Top Trends Impacting Infrastructure and Operations for 2021
January 06, 2021
Share this

Gartner, Inc. highlighted the six trends that infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders must start preparing for in the next 12-18 months.

"The coronavirus pandemic has forced IT executives to adapt their operations to address increased work-from-home scenarios and unpredictable changes to IT requirements," said Jeffrey Hewitt, Research VP at Gartner. "Yet, COVID-19 isn't the only impetus for the majority of I&O staff to work from home moving forward. The nature of infrastructure is evolving to the point where remote I&O teams make sense to support new scenarios, use cases and technologies."

Hewitt identified the top emerging trends that are impacting I&O and provided recommendations to best respond to them to achieve optimal results in a post-pandemic environment:

Trend No. 1: Anywhere Operations

Gartner expects that 48% of employees will work from home, even after the pandemic, compared with 30% pre-pandemic. This shift will force IT executives to develop flexible and resilient organizations that enable staff to work from anywhere, allow customers everywhere to access services, and manage the deployment of business services across distributed infrastructures.

"The traditional, structured processes within I&O made organizations fragile when it comes to the flexibility of location," said Hewitt. "Anywhere operations enable organizations to decentralize staff and activate operations where it makes business sense. It even makes way for broader talent choices as organizations do not need to necessarily recruit staff in a specific geography."

Trend No. 2: Optimal Infrastructure

"The key for anywhere operations is developing programmable infrastructure that enables the right work in the right place at the right time – this is the crux of optimal infrastructure," said Hewitt. "As infrastructure and operations evolves into integration and operations, various solutions such as hyperconverged infrastructure or computational storage must be matched with the optimal use case."

Optimal infrastructure will also involve data center and edge infrastructure, which can be difficult to measure and lead to complex deployments. Hewitt recommended organizations take a business viewpoint and look at both optimizing costs and tools to build their case for a given infrastructure deployment.

Trend No. 3: Operational Continuity

Increasingly, workloads will need to support geographically dispersed customers and employees. As a result, IT services must be continuous, regardless of external factors, providing automated deployments and minimal-touch maintenance. By 2025, 60% of organizations will use automation tools to deploy new compute resources, reduce deployment time and deliver greater agility.

"When done correctly, this trend increases efficiencies and allows for faster workload deployment. The main downside is the learning curve that comes with using new and sometimes complex tools or processes that support continuity," said Hewitt.

Trend No. 4: Core Modernization

In order to ensure enterprise infrastructure evolves in lockstep, maintaining core operations should be viewed as an ongoing process, not a one-time project. Enterprises will need to coordinate infrastructures on- and off-premises that minimize legacy drag.

"The upside of modernizing infrastructure is that it lowers technical debt and paves the way for agile infrastructure to respond to the growing list of digital business requirements," said Hewitt. "Enterprises must implement a modernization plan with a realistic timeline, one which accounts for shifting skill requirements."

Trend No. 5: Distributed Cloud

Another major trend is distributing cloud resources so that the cloud becomes decentralized and the burden of support shifts to cloud service providers. This approach will enable flexible location and result in latency reduction.

"Since the distributed cloud market is currently immature, costs can be high and deployment models complex. Organizations should still have it on their horizon as a part of the future of cloud computing, since most cloud service platforms will provide at least some distributed cloud services that execute at the point of need over the next four years," said Hewitt.

Trend No. 6: Critical Skills Versus Critical Roles

"I&O skills requirements will continue to evolve as organizations adapt to new business environments," said Hewitt. "Specifically, there is a shift in focus from infrastructure roles toward collective, critical skills. This challenges the traditional ‘territorial' thinking of belonging to a specific infrastructure team and instead encourages collaboration."

By 2022, I&O leaders can expect to plan for at least 12 high-priority skills in their organizations. While hiring for these skills now while the IT talent market remains a buyer's market is recommended, Gartner said I&O leaders should consider the fundamental culture changes this trend will bring and to plan accordingly.

Share this

The Latest

March 04, 2024

This year's Super Bowl drew in viewership of nearly 124 million viewers and made history as the most-watched live broadcast event since the 1969 moon landing. To support this spike in viewership, streaming companies like YouTube TV, Hulu and Paramount+ began preparing their IT infrastructure months in advance to ensure an exceptional viewer experience without outages or major interruptions. New Relic conducted a survey to understand the importance of a seamless viewing experience and the impact of outages during major streaming events such as the Super Bowl ...

March 01, 2024

As organizations continue to navigate the complexities of the digital era, which has been marked by exponential advancements in AI and technology, the strategic deployment of modern, practical applications has become indispensable for sustaining competitive advantage and realizing business goals. The Info-Tech Research Group report, Applications Priorities 2024, explores the following five initiatives for emerging and leading-edge technologies and practices that can enable IT and applications leaders to optimize their application portfolio and improve on capabilities needed to meet the ambitions of their organizations ...

February 29, 2024

Despite the growth in popularity of artificial intelligence (AI) and ML across a number of industries, there is still a huge amount of unrealized potential, with many businesses playing catch-up and still planning how ML solutions can best facilitate processes. Further progression could be limited without investment in specialized technical teams to drive development and integration ...

February 28, 2024

With over 200 streaming services to choose from, including multiple platforms featuring similar types of entertainment, users have little incentive to remain loyal to any given platform if it exhibits performance issues. Big names in streaming like Hulu, Amazon Prime and HBO Max invest thousands of hours into engineering observability and closed-loop monitoring to combat infrastructure and application issues, but smaller platforms struggle to remain competitive without access to the same resources ...

February 27, 2024

Generative AI has recently experienced unprecedented dramatic growth, making it one of the most exciting transformations the tech industry has seen in some time. However, this growth also poses a challenge for tech leaders who will be expected to deliver on the promise of new technology. In 2024, delivering tangible outcomes that meet the potential of AI, and setting up incubator projects for the future will be key tasks ...

February 26, 2024

SAP is a tool for automating business processes. Managing SAP solutions, especially with the shift to the cloud-based S/4HANA platform, can be intricate. To explore the concerns of SAP users during operational transformations and automation, a survey was conducted in mid-2023 by Digitate and Americas' SAP Users' Group ...

February 22, 2024

Some companies are just starting to dip their toes into developing AI capabilities, while (few) others can claim they have built a truly AI-first product. Regardless of where a company is on the AI journey, leaders must understand what it means to build every aspect of their product with AI in mind ...

February 21, 2024

Generative AI will usher in advantages within various industries. However, the technology is still nascent, and according to the recent Dynatrace survey there are many challenges and risks that organizations need to overcome to use this technology effectively ...

February 20, 2024

In today's digital era, monitoring and observability are indispensable in software and application development. Their efficacy lies in empowering developers to swiftly identify and address issues, enhance performance, and deliver flawless user experiences. Achieving these objectives requires meticulous planning, strategic implementation, and consistent ongoing maintenance. In this blog, we're sharing our five best practices to fortify your approach to application performance monitoring (APM) and observability ...

February 16, 2024

In MEAN TIME TO INSIGHT Episode 3, Shamus McGillicuddy, VP of Research, Network Infrastructure and Operations, at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) discusses network security with Chris Steffen, VP of Research Covering Information Security, Risk, and Compliance Management at EMA ...