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IT departments need to address complexity, says ZK Research founder

Jennifer Scott

IT departments are not behind the times when it comes to their technology, but if they carry on as they are, complexity could stop them growing, the founder and principal analyst of ZK Research has said.

Speaking at Cisco Live in Milan today, Zeus Kerravala, a former network engineer, said he was insulted when the media claimed IT had fallen behind in enterprises. He countered that the departments were “smarter than ever".

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However, Kerravala admitted the increased intricacies within the environment were threatening to hold up further progression.

“Over the years, businesses want to move faster, be more agile and respond to competitive pressure faster,” Kerravala said. 

“So what IT has done is introduce a whole host of new technologies that allow companies to do that: virtual platforms, cloud platforms, wireless networks, bringing in consumer devices, pushing things to the cloud, bringing them back to on premise, making them hybrid, making them converge etc.”

Kerravala said this pressure from the business and aiming to please from IT has left the environment a lot more complicated than it used to be.

“When we used to deploy things in silos, sure they were inefficient, but they were pretty easy to manage,” he added. “You just threw up a whole rack of stuff, replicated that for app two and then replicated that for app three.”

The analyst believed we had now reached a point in IT where the infrastructure was no longer scalable and with most budgets being spent on keeping the lights on, things needed to change.

“My own research [shows] 83% of a company’s budget is used just to maintain operations, which means there is little left for strategic initiatives,” said Kerravala.

“Also, three quarters of problems are identified by users, not the IT department, so the visibility that organisations have is not really sufficient to see how things move around between these hybrid environments. Lastly, the largest cost of downtime is from IT. It is human errors and configuration errors.”

He concluded: “We are using up all our budget, creating all our errors and can’t find them very fast and it has created an environment that isn’t scalable. Frankly, if something doesn’t change, I think IT is going to be in a position where they won’t be able to keep up any more.”


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