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451 Research warns of software-defined infrastructure skills gaps

Analyst house 451 Research warns CIOs against the dangers of failing to pair software-defined technology investment with staff training

Enterprises must back their 2016 software-defined infrastructure (SDI) spending initiatives with plans to train staff in using the technology if they want their deployments to succeed.

That’s according to 451 Research’s inaugural SDI-focused Voice of the Enterprise report. The study features responses from 900 IT professionals from across the globe and input from the analyst house’s 28,000-strong panel of senior IT enterprise technology specialists.

Its findings suggest enterprises will spend around 14.4% more on SDI technology in 2016, with 67% of respondents setting out plans to increase their SDI spending during the year.  Meanwhile, 65% of respondents claim the move is motivated by the need for greater business agility.

However, 451 claims just 21% of enterprises are using SDI technologies in their IT environments at the moment, as skill shortages and concerns about the immaturity of the products-bite.

SDI technology is categorised in the study as servers, storage or networking kit that has undergone virtualisation, and has been kitted out with management automation and elastic scaling tools.

According to Simon Robinson, vice-president of research at 451 Research, interest in the technology is growing, as enterprises look to increasingly digitise their service offerings.

“As every business becomes a digital business, decision-makers are looking to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their overall IT environment,” he said. “This is encouraging decision makers to explore new IT delivery models.”

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Supplier and spending forecast

The Voice of the Enterprise report claims VMware, Cisco and Microsoft are leading the pack when it comes to providing SDI products.

The 451 report also suggests 37.4% of enterprises are planning to increase their spending in software-defined networking, while 26.9% expect to spend more on software-defined storage this year.

Nikolay Yamakawa, senior analyst at 451 Research, warned that enterprises risk wasting their money unless they are prepared to invest in the SDI skills of their workforce too.

“To achieve successful implementation, decision-makers should first conduct an audit of their internal skills and look to fill any gaps,” said Yamakawa.

“Meanwhile, vendors should aim to play a more proactive role in communicating requirements and presenting case studies to help overcome these barriers.”

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