SolarWinds has announced the findings of its IT is Everywhere surveys. The results showcase how the realm of IT is expanding beyond the traditional borders of company-owned devices and on-premises technology, thereby placing greater demand on IT professionals to manage technology outside their traditional scope of control. The surveys are connected to IT Professionals Day — observed the third Tuesday of every September (September 20, 2016) — to emphasize the need for greater appreciation towards IT professionals and the critical role they play in modern business and in the lives of nearly all technology endusers.

“The importance of technology and the IT professionals who support it is a well-known fact of business success,” said Joseph Kim, senior vice president and chief technology officer, SolarWinds. “So, to celebrate the second annual IT Professionals Day, we want to draw attention to the mounting responsibility being placed on IT professionals to manage an ever-expanding array of technologies — both those owned by businesses and those beyond, such as enduser owned devices and cloud applications provided by third-party vendors. Our surveys reveal that more than ever, endusers are connecting more devices, including those personally owned, to corporate networks; relying on cloud-based applications; and working outside the four walls of traditional offices. These are all trends that take direct control out of the hands of IT departments, yet as the surveys also demonstrate, the demands on IT professionals to support and ensure the performance of related technologies are just as high.”

SolarWinds’ IT is Everywhere surveys are a series of two studies in support of IT Professionals Day. The first focuses on endusers’ perspectives related to the evolving business technology landscape and IT professionals’ role in it, while the second focuses on IT professionals’ corresponding viewpoint. The combined key findings include:

More endusers are connecting a diverse set of electronic devices, including those personally-owned, to corporate networks.

  • Forty-seven percent of employed North American endusers say they connect more devices, whether company or personally owned, to corporate networks than they did 10 years ago, at an average of three more per user.
  • Forty-seven percent of endusers say they connect more personally owned devices to corporate networks than they did 10 years ago, at an average of two more per user.
  • Fifty-nine percent of endusers say they connect a laptop/desktop computer to corporate networks, 46% a smartphone and 21% a tablet computer.
  • Twenty-five percent of endusers say they connect a less expected form of electronic device to corporate networks, such as Bluetooth speakers, streaming media players, wearable technology, and eReaders.

The technology endusers rely on is increasingly outside their employers’ on-premises infrastructure, including cloud-based applications and work-related resources leveraged beyond the office.

  • Sixty percent of IT professionals globally say their organizations permit/facilitate the use of cloud-based applications; 71% also estimate that endusers at least occasionally use non-IT-sanctioned cloud-based applications.
  • Fifty-three percent of endusers say they leverage these cloud-based applications —both IT-facilitated and non-IT-sanctioned — while at work.
  • Forty-nine percent of endusers say they regularly use work-related applications outside the office, on either company owned or personally owned devices.

Despite the increase in endusers’ reliance on technology often outside the control of their employers’ IT professionals, they still hold them accountable for its performance.

  • Sixty-two percent of IT professionals say the expectation to support endusers’ personally owned devices connected to corporate networks is significantly greater than it was 10 years ago, while 56% of endusers say they expect their employers’ IT professionals to ensure the performance these devices.
  • Forty-three percent of IT professionals say endusers expect the same time to resolution for issues with both personally and company owned owned devices and technology.
  • Eighty-seven percent of endusers say they expect their employers’ IT professionals to ensure the performance of cloud-based applications used at work, with 68% going so far to say it is their employers’ IT professionals’ fault if they do not perform as expected.
  • Sixty-four percent of IT professionals say endusers expect the same time to resolution for issues with both cloud-based applications and local applications (those managed directly by IT).
  • Sixty-two percent of endusers expect work-related applications used outside the office to perform at the same level and to receive the same level of support from their employers’ IT professionals, while 83% of IT professionals say they at least occasionally provide such support.

“The key findings show that endusers are now more than ever pushing the boundaries of traditional IT beyond the four walls of their organizations,” Kim added. “IT is truly everywhere, and as a result, IT professionals are increasingly expected to ensure always-on availability and performance for any and all devices and applications, many of which they likely do not control. Every industry has felt the impact of increased reliance on technology, but none more than the IT industry itself. So, in recognition of IT professionals everywhere, we are thrilled to be celebrating the second annual IT Professionals Day and spotlighting the hard work they do day in and day out to keep businesses running.”

Fielded in June 2016, the first of the two surveys was conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of SolarWinds and yielded responses from 875 endusers in North America who were employed, but not as IT professionals. The second survey was fielded by SolarWinds in July 2016 and yielded responses from 276 IT professionals from across the globe. Full survey results are available here.

IT Professionals Day

IT Professionals Day is designed to annually celebrate all IT professionals regardless of discipline. Whereas holidays such as System Administrator Appreciation Day do well at recognizing one category of the profession, IT Professionals Day honors not only system administrators, but network engineers, database administrators, information security professionals, developers, IT support technicians and all other professionals serving in IT-related roles.