89% of IT managers believe their role will change: Aruba study

BYOD, cloud and virtualisation will transform the role of the IT manager from technical specialist to central business communicator, according to new research by Aruba Networks.

Aruba’s ‘20/20 Vision’ report, which was revealed today at the company’s EMEA Airheads Conference 2013 in Alicante, Spain, found that 89 percent of IT professionals believe policy communication and business change are the biggest on-going challenges they face.

The study, which sampled a network of IT professionals to get their views on the future of their respective careers, highlights the rapid increase of consumerisation.

Forty-seven percent of those surveyed said they see BYOD as the trend that will most shape the evolution of enterprise IT, followed by data security in the cloud and virtualisation (36 percent each).  Sixty-eight percent said they believe the IT function in 2020 will be more about policy enforcement than technology deployment.

In response to this, 41 percent said communication skills would be more important than technical skills, and 88% said they will need to be strong business communicators in the future in order to be successful.

The report was developed by Aruba Networks in partnership with Phillip Brown, a professor of work, employability and labour markets at Cardiff University. The report used qualitative focus groups and quantitative omnibus research of over 150 IT professionals at all levels in order to help better understand what skills they will need in the future.

“Future roles in IT will depend on blending technical knowhow with the ‘soft’ currencies of employability, such as communications and business awareness,” Brown said. “It will also require good networking skills, both virtual and face-to-face.”

To achieve success in their future roles, 42 percent of respondents said they would need to rely on technical certifications offered by vendors, rather than develop the skills in-house. This is part of a wider trend that will see companies rely more heavily on third parties. Another 76 percent said they expect the number of projects to be given to external specialists will increase in an on-demand fashion. The report also found that the needs of the business are increasingly shaping the role of the IT professional.

On a day-to-day basis, the IT professional will see an increasing demand for consumer-friendly technology such as smartphones or tablets, the report said, while 78 percent said they expect users to demand technology that “just works”.

“In the future, IT and business will be fully integrated,” said Ben Gibson, CMO, Aruba Networks. “To manage this, IT professionals will need to be equipped to communicate better, more frequently and more effectively than today.

“Communication is already a bigger part of the role of the IT department than it was 10 years ago, but in the future it is going to become even more important as technology becomes even more business critical.”

CNME Editor Ben Rossi is reporting from Aruba Networks’ EMEA Airheads Conference 2013 in Alicante, Spain. Twitter updates can be followed at @ComputerNewsME and #airheadsconf.


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