IT managers already have a lot on their plate. Alongside traditional pressures to keep the lights on and to do more with less, they face an increasingly diverse set of challenges that go to the heart of IT management, as well as the future of IT itself.

Here we look at four things that are currently keeping IT managers awake at night.

 

Cloud security

We’ve talked a bit about cloud security before on The Voice. As more customers look to adopt cloud-based solutions, there has been a corresponding jump in the number of questions around security.

Analyst firm ESG recently characterised some of the ongoing security challenges for cloud and hybrid cloud/on-premises IT as being a lack of visibility, which also made it more difficult to monitor for threats.

The same firm said that over two-thirds of companies are trying to apply their existing security policies to cloud infrastructure.

Separate Australian research shows 58 percent of IT managers identify security as the biggest challenge associated with managing current hybrid IT environments.

Fortinet provides a list of things that IT managers can look at to reduce their risk profile when adopting cloud solutions. Your Brennan IT account manager can also help with practical solutions tailored for your business.

 

Catering to new employees

Much has been written about millennials ushering in a new breed of enterprise tools. You’ll find elsewhere in this edition of The Voice some discussion around new social tools for enterprise, and it seems IT managers are concerned about meeting the technology demands of new workers.

Recent research by Quocirca looks at the way millennials expect to work and the challenges of incorporating the tools that would enable this new way of working into the existing IT environment. It notes that “the lines between the physical and digital office” are blurring, creating challenges for IT.

 

The future of IT

A recent blog post by a long-time ex-IBM staffer summarised this well – how does an IT manager correctly anticipate the future of technology and decide what they should and shouldn’t adopt? The post posits one way to anticipate the future is to learn from the past.

This could help, for example, in working out your data science strategy, as most organisations are likely to have done some form of analytics over the course of their existence, and old lessons could be applicable in a newer scenario.

Related to predicting the future of IT is charting the future of the IT manager. In recent years we have seen a number of pressures exerted on IT from all sides of the business. As CIO magazine points out, the best IT leaders now have “a blend of business, technology and interpersonal skills”, which let them act as an “interpretation layer between emerging trends, current organisation capabilities and organisational strategy”.

 

Customer focus

Keeping customers happy has always been the key to successful business, but this year companies expect to compete on customer focus, and IT’s role in powering that has risen in stature.

This year, the pressure is on IT managers to find ways to glean insights from existing stores of data. These insights can then be used to highly personalise customer interactions in pursuit of a complete customer experience.

“What customers really want is often greatly at odds with what we as businesses are accustomed to—or comfortable—delivering,” an Oracle executive recently opined in Forbes. “In 2016, [IT] must help lead the way in bridging this gap and driving customer-centric engagements.”

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