The Evolving Role of Network Professionals
February 25, 2016

Pete Goldin
APMdigest

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Increasingly diverse demands from next generation technologies is changing the role of network professionals, according to the 2016 Network World State of the Network study by IDG’s Network World.

Among enterprises, nearly all survey respondents (91%) noted the increased demands of the position, and while the role might be becoming more complex, the majority see a more integral responsibility in shaping IT strategy (71%). In fact, 65% stated that communication between the CIO and the networking management team is happening more frequently than ever before. Communication enterprise-wide is also proving to be critical to digital-enabled business innovation. Seventy-nine percent agreed that collaboration efforts between the network team and other teams within IT are successful in driving innovation. Looking beyond IT, the networking group works with top business executives on at least a monthly basis, according to 69% of respondents and collaborates at a similar frequency with corporate operations (66%).

“The network has always been the backbone of the enterprise,” said Brian Glynn, Chief Revenue Officer of IDG Enterprise. “We are now seeing the team behind the network taking a larger role in IT strategy and collaboration across the business, which is important as companies continue to respond to digital disruption, drive innovation around emerging tech, and digitally transform their business.”

Other highlights of the survey:

■ 51% of enterprise respondents indicated their IT budget will increase over the next 12 months, with more than one-third (38%) saying it will remain the same.

■ 55% cite network speed and performance as the top business driver for networking investments. This is followed by improving data security (53%) and ensuring availability (50%).

■ These drivers correlate to the areas that respondents say will receive increased budget allocation – cloud (63%), network security (50%), and data storage (43%).

■ Security areas being most actively looked into include enterprise mobility management (57%), securing access for mobility programs (54%), ID management solutions (54%), securing access to social media (52%), data loss prevention (52%), next-generation firewalls (52%), and corporate data encryption (50%).

■ 70% say cloud will add complexity, while at the same time nearly the same amount (69%) stated cloud will enable the networking team to play a more strategic role.

■ 48% of enterprise organizations are actively researching plans around SDN and 9% are piloting software-defined networking (SDN) technology. And 22% plan to be piloting the technology a year from now.

■ 20% of enterprise organizations have Internet of Things (IoT) efforts underway and an additional 43% plan to implement IoT efforts within the next three years.

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