Top Ten Challenges Faced By IT Managers

Last year at the Gartner Symposium IT/Expo David Cappuccio, managing vice president and chief of research for the Infrastructure teams with Gartner talked about the top ten technology-related trends. Many of these trends have now translated into challenges that IT managers are facing in 2013.

Energy Use

Gartner estimates that a 25,000 square-foot data center consumes about $4.1 million in energy each year. So a savings of just a few percent can make a big difference. There's an emerging market of tools for energy monitoring and efficiency, with more than 25 vendors in this market. These tools monitor consumption at the device level or application level, which could assist IT managers in keeping a comprehensive inventory of what compute resources are doing and which workloads are a considerable waste of energy.

Remote Working & Multi Locations

In a recent report from MessageLabs Security Safeguard, 42% of the IT managers surveyed were worried about the prospect of computer viruses or infections introduced by employees working from home or remote locations. Additionally, nearly 19% of the IT managers (76% of managers among companies with more than 500 employees) cited protecting their company’s online branches in multiple locations as a challenge. Threats to the online locations included online viruses, inappropriate web usage by employees, and malware/spyware.

Social Networking

Most organizations still don’t have a plan for enabling social networking and using it to make statements about their organization or company. However, "ignoring social networks is not an option," said Cappuccio. "If I'm looking at a unified communications department, a unified network, all these things need to be tied in as well. You know that the competition is doing it."

Unfortunately, the social networking issue is a double-edged sword. Personal social networking not only drains employee productivity, but deters honest employees from disciplined web usage. 86% of the IT managers surveyed in the MessageLabs report said that they are concerned about employees wasting time on social networking and similar sites, while 53% of the IT managers found it a challenge to enforce satisfactory Internet usage policies in a consistent way, a challenge.

Big Data

Data will grow by 800% in the next five years, with 80% of this data categorized as unstructured. Part of that data is the trend called "the collective," which includes data from communities, groups, and social networks outside the business. "Mining the collective has become a very common thing to do, and it's a great way to understand what your marketplace looks like," said Cappuccio.

Big Data is moving from a focus on individual projects to an influence on enterprises’ strategic information architecture. Dealing with data volume, variety, velocity and complexity is forcing IT managers to make changes to many traditional approaches. This realization is leading organizations to abandon the concept of a single enterprise data warehouse containing all information needed for decisions. Instead they are moving towards multiple systems, including content management, data warehouses, data marts and specialized file systems tied together with data services and metadata, which will become the "logical" enterprise data warehouse.


Meeting budget constraints is tough even in the best of times. It is especially challenging for IT managers during hard times. Most IT budgets are expected to grow in the next year, but they continue to be tight. The growth of cloud computing and mobile technology will require more attention and resources. Leading IT managers to be faced with the difficult decision of how best to meet existing budget needs while still planning for the future.


42% of the of the IT managers surveyed in the MessageLabs report found it a challenge to limit employee access to unauthorized web apps like personal email, IM applications, social networking sites, etc., all of which employees could use to upload confidential company information. In the same vein, 49% of respondents found updating patches for typical software like spam and anti-malware systems, in-house web filters, policy engines, and signatures for antivirus databases a challenge.


Gartner predicts that by 2013 mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide and that by 2015 over 80 percent of the handsets sold in mature markets will be smartphones (only 20 percent of which will be Windows phones). By 2015, media tablet shipments will reach around 50 percent of laptop shipments and Windows 8 will likely be in third place behind Google’s Android and Apple iOS operating systems. “These things are taking off like rockets," said Cappuccio of the ubiquitous tablet, which has recently proved itself to be more and more useful as a business tool. "Look at integrating these into your environment."

What this means for IT managers is that the era of PC dominance with Windows as the single business platform will be replaced with a post-PC era where Windows is just one of a variety of environments IT will need to support within the company.

Computer Density

To stay away from the cost of expansion or building a new data center, users are attempting to increase density within their data centers. In some cases, IT managers must upgrade hardware faster to the next server generation, which includes more servers in a single rack, in order to benefit from the increase in performance at less power, while increasing data center density.


Virtualization continues to evolve from servers to desktops, giving IT managers the challenge of creating their own strategic plan for architecture of the infrastructure. "You do not do desktop virtualization to save money, because you're not going to," said Cappuccio “You are going to spend more money on your infrastructure. But what you gain is total control of the environment."


Last but not least, obsolescence poses a problem to any IT manager picking out new company-wide software or hardware. When everything you use at work, from your PC to your basic computing skills, seem to become obsolete in three to five years, it’s essential to make the right choice. As costs continue to be scrutinized, IT needs to find a way to reduce the costs of obsolescence. Microsoft is expected to stick with a regular release cycle, but upgrading to every new release of Windows may be one of the first costs to go in this tight economy. After all, it’s getting more and more difficult for companies to justify the costs of upgrades without any documented increases in productivity.

Author Bio:
Brian King works for Opsview Ltd, a leading provider of application and network monitoring software writing content for the Opsview website and blogs.  Brian’s been working in the IT industry for over 15 years with experience of networking, hardware, software and information management.

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