Friday, 14 August 2020 10:52

Australian IT professionals ahead of global counterparts in experiencing disruptions, outages working remotely Featured


Sixty-five percent of Australian and New Zealand IT professionals have experienced disruptions or outages when working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, a higher number than their counterparts around the world, according to a new study.

According to the study from IT infrastructure monitoring company LogicMonitor, which interviwed 500 IT decision makers from Australia, New Zealand, the UK and North America, compared to Australia, more than half (54%) of global IT leaders experienced initial IT disruptions or outages with their existing software, productivity, or collaboration tools as a result of shifting to remote work in the first half of 2020.

Overall, the study found that globally 70% of IT professionals are finding it challenging to adapt to their new responsibilities of supporting a remote workforce - and 22% of IT leaders in Australia and New Zealand view this as very challenging.

And respondents report significant concerns relating to security and stability, specific challenges experienced include the struggle to deal with outages remotely, and the network strain from the increase in remote employees using IT systems, with LogicMonitor noting that “these concerns represent a serious threat to the ability to deliver seamless digital experiences that consumers increasingly demand”.

“Maintaining business continuity is both more difficult and more important than ever in the era of COVID-19,” said Kevin McGibben, CEO and President of LogicMonitor.

“IT teams are being asked to do whatever it takes -- from accelerating digital transformation plans to expanding cloud services -- to keep people connected and businesses running as many offices and storefronts pause in-person operations. Our research confirms that the time is now for modern enterprises to build automation into their IT systems and shift workloads to the cloud to safeguard IT resiliency.”

LogicMonitor says that business continuity plans are integral to companies’ ability to withstand an unanticipated crisis, while the new study found that 86% of global companies have a business continuity plan in place prior to COVID-19 (with the same percentage in Australia and New Zealand), 12% of global respondents have minimal or no confidence at all in their organisation’s plan to withstand an unanticipated crisis (compared to 9% in Australia and New Zealand).

And only 35% of global respondents feel very confident in their plan - but the number jumps to 39% for IT leaders in Australia and New Zealand.

The study found that IT decision makers also expressed overall reservations about their IT infrastructure’s resilience in the face of a crisis.

Globally, only 36% of IT decision makers feel that their infrastructure is very prepared to withstand a crisis - but IT leaders in Australia and New Zealand are slightly more confident at 39%. Learning from this crisis, IT decision makers report they’re investing in productivity tools and expanding the use of cloud-based solutions and platforms to maintain business continuity and serve customers during the global pandemic and into the future.

Overall, 36% of IT leaders in Australia and New Zealand say their organisations are investing additional funds in IT infrastructure monitoring, and 26% are investing in artificial intelligence and machine learning as ways to better cope with company-wide remote work policies (compared to 23% globally).

The survey identified that 91% of global respondents are working remotely and a full 78% said their entire company is working remotely. “Indeed, 87% of IT leaders report COVID-19 is driving the need to work from home, which in turn is accelerating their migration to the cloud,” says LogicMonitor.

Prior to COVID-19, IT professionals said 65% of their workload was in the cloud - and IT leaders in Australia and New Zealand said even more at 68%, the study reveals.

However, just six months later, that number increased to 76% for IT leaders in Australia and New Zealand. With this in mind, 37% of IT leaders in Australia and New Zealand think it will take two years or less for more than 95% of all workloads to run in public, private, and hybrid cloud environments.

“While cloud migrations and usage soars, on-premises IT workloads are experiencing a substantial decline due perhaps in part to the global pandemic,” LogicMonitor reports.

“Pre-COVID-19, 35% of global workloads were housed on-premises - even less for IT leaders in Australia and New Zealand at 32%. Now, IT professionals in Australia and New Zealand expect on-premises workloads to decrease to 24% by 2025.”

LogicMontor says the benefits of IT automation have become increasingly clear.

The study found that while the vast majority of IT decision makers in Australia and New Zealand (93%) say there has been a greater focus on automation in their department over the past three years (compared to 88% globally), a full 94% of IT leaders in Australia and New Zealand say they expect this focus on automation to increase in the coming three years.

“In more normal times, IT leaders see automation as a business enabler that allows them to operate more efficiently and focus on innovating rather than keeping the lights on,” LogicMonitor reports.

The study shows that of all the regions surveyed, IT leaders in Australia and New Zealand were the most likely to invest in artificial intelligence and machine learning at 26% (compared to 23% globally) - and 93% of global IT leaders, and 95% of IT leaders in Australia and New Zealand - say automation is worthwhile because it allows IT leaders and their teams to focus on more strategic tasks and initiatives.

“However, although some IT professionals fear job loss due to automation, others view it as a saving grace when faced with the spectre of pandemic-related layoffs or budget cuts,” LogicMonitor observes, with the study finding that four of five (80%) of IT leaders in Australia and New Zealand believe that the automation of IT tasks would enable their department to operate effectively in the case of staff reduction (compared to 72% global).

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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