Four ways to overcome the increasing IT complexity in the hybrid world

Cloud adoption is accelerating. Gartner says end-user spending on cloud services ballooned 20% in 2022 to nearly US $500 billion. The spending frenzy isn’t about to cool, either; it’s expected to grow by another hundred billion dollars in 2023. Every business is under pressure. Competitors are spending on resilience and improving products and services.

For their part, clients are demanding better experiences from firms. The distributed workforce also has demands—they want flexible work options. Any way you look at it, companies must catch up and spend. It’s never been harder to work in IT as teams try to meet competing demands. Pain points include running workloads and applications across both cloud and on-premises infrastructure and supporting both new technologies and legacy infrastructure. 

As new features and applications are added every passing day, complexity throughout the technology stack grows and spreads exponentially. IT complexity is a problem we can’t ignore. It’s even affecting the confidence of the tech pros who maintain the systems.

How is confidence a factor in IT complexity?

According to the SolarWinds® IT Trends Report 2022, complexity has negatively impacted the ability of IT teams to support businesses and the bottom line. Global respondents said top drivers of increased complexity include new tools and tech, increased tech requirements from multiple departments, and fragmentation between legacy and modern tech.

These increased demands point to a potential looming crisis. Findings from the IT Trends Report reveal IT pros lack confidence in their ability to manage today’s complex environments. When asked how confident IT pros were in their organisation’s ability to manage complexity, only 16% of respondents said they felt extremely confident.

How can IT complexity be combated?

More than a third of respondents (34%) admitted they weren’t fully equipped to manage complexity, and an additional 6% of respondents weren’t confident at all. Most IT pros also believe return on investment (ROI) has been impacted due to increasing IT complexity. But there are ways to help combat this crisis in confidence. I’ve included four below.

Choose the Right Payment Model

When working with an IT vendor, keep your options open and shop around for the best deal. Subscription or one-off payments have budgetary benefits, but pay-as-you-go IT services shouldn’t be set aside. Providers of these services must commit to making you happy.

Pay-as-you-go IT also allows your team to see a direct link between cost, waste, and inefficiency. It forces IT pros to stay on top of maximising the usage of what they buy. For example, if there’s a technological lag, they’ll reach out to the provider for a faster fix.

The result: the pay-as-you-go IT service provides ROI for the team. It’s important to select the right option for the task at hand AND the business needs. This selection will also need to be re-evaluated and defended at future budgetary meetings no matter which you choose.

Find the Solutions Suited to Your Size

Each organisation faces different challenges, but the size of the organisation can play a big role in determining what tool, strategy, or technology could help better manage IT complexity. For example, more than a third (38%) of enterprise tech pro respondents indicated fragmentation between legacy technologies and new technologies was the leading cause for increased complexity, compared to 29% of their small business counterparts.

Factor in the size of your firm. A smaller firm may be able to tackle complexity by bringing in one or two external consultants to lay out a strategy, though this might not have the same impact on a larger organisation. Instead, larger organisations are better off undertaking a cost-benefit analysis to determine the most effective way to manage big legacy tech stacks.

The Domino Effect of Training

The role tech professionals play in helping their firms make strategic business decisions regarding emerging tech can’t be overstated. IT pros know the limits of their tech initiatives.

They also know where the compliance and security risks are—and how tech is best used to meet business goals. Still, confidence is waning. Many IT pros feel they have suboptimal visibility into infrastructure and networks and require training and upskilling to get there.

Comprehensive, firsthand training—including the time to experiment and learn these tech—is required to create an IT workforce secure and confident in their skills. In communicating with management, tech leaders should stress improved app performance, visibility, customer experience (CX), and product resolution have a knock-on effect on business growth.

Remember, This Isn’t the First Time

Take the time to remind yourself everything changes. The company you relied on seems to have changed its focus and mission. On the surface, tools like Zoom and Slack may connect us, but with every new connection comes an additional layer of IT infrastructure.

Company IT pros will need get perspective on the pace of change—and why change is necessary. This last point doesn’t require any tech, but it does require the ability to remember your job has always been about change. Fighting the problem of complexity is a battle for all of us. Try these four steps, but buckle your seatbelt, too. Cloud adoption will continue.

Chrystal Taylor, Head Geek and Senior Technical Product Marketing Manager at SolarWinds. He is a dedicated technologist with over a decade of experience spanning capacity planning, server architecture, and troubleshooting.