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Pandemic accelerates business continuity investments in cloud migration, productivity tools 94 percent of IT leaders say IT automation a priority going forward

A new global study from LogicMonitor examines how IT departments are evolving in a time of crisis to maintain business continuity and best meet the needs of their customers. LogicMonitor, the leading cloud-based provider of IT infrastructure monitoring, intelligence and observability, today released its Evolution of IT report, which is the result of a survey of 500 IT decision makers from across North America, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report reveals a number of important trends, and identifies several IT challenges faced as countries and enterprises shut down physical offices and move operations online. 

For example, the study found that 84 percent of global IT leaders are responsible for ensuring their customers’ digital experience, but nearly two-thirds (61 percent) do not have high confidence in their ability to do so. LogicMonitor’s research found that more than half (54 percent) of 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. Within the Education sector, nearly a quarter (24 percent) of IT professionals stated that their employer did not have a business continuity plan in place to deal with the current crisis.

Overall, 70 percent of IT professionals are finding it challenging to adapt to their new responsibilities of supporting a remote workforce. 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. 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.”

IT teams lack confidence in their infrastructure’s resilience

Business continuity plans are integral to companies’ ability to withstand an unanticipated crisis. While LogicMonitor’s new study found that 86 percent of companies have a business continuity plan in place prior to COVID-19, 12 percent of respondents have minimal or no confidence at all in their organisation’s plan to withstand an unanticipated crisis. Only 35 percent of respondents feel very confident in their plan. 

IT decision makers also expressed overall reservations about their IT infrastructure’s resilience in the face of a crisis. Globally, only 36 percent of IT decision makers feel that their infrastructure is very prepared to withstand a crisis. And while a majority of respondents (53 percent) are at least somewhat prepared to take on an unexpected IT emergency, 11 percent feel they are minimally prepared or believe their infrastructure will collapse under pressure.

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, 35 percent of organisations are investing additional funds in IT infrastructure monitoring, and 23 percent are investing in artificial intelligence and machine learning as ways to better cope with company-wide remote work policies.

COVID-19 is dramatically accelerating cloud adoption

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

Prior to COVID-19, IT professionals said 65 percent of their workload was in the cloud. However, just six months later, that number increased to 78 percent. With this in mind, 74 percent think it will take five years or less for more than 95 percent 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. Pre-COVID-19, 35 percent of workloads were housed on-premises. Now, IT professionals expect on-premises workloads to decrease to 22 percent by 2025.

IT leaders are embracing automation

The benefits of IT automation have become increasingly clear in the first half of 2020: 50 percent of IT leaders who have a “great deal of automation” within their IT department also say they’re very confident in their ability to maintain continuous uptime and availability during a crisis. 

While the vast majority of IT decision makers (88 percent) say there has been a greater focus on automation in their department over the past three years, an even greater majority, 94 percent, 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. 74 percent of IT leaders say they employ intelligent systems like artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide insight into the performance of their IT infrastructure. And 93 percent of IT leaders 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. Nearly three quarters (72 percent) of IT leaders believe that the automation of IT tasks would enable their department to operate effectively in the case of staff reduction. 

For more information on the global survey and its findings, please read LogicMonitor’s full Evolution of IT report: