IT infrastructure software management vendor Kaseya released its 2023 IT Operations Report on June 22, revealing the impact of the current economy on IT operations decision-makers.
The report, based on a comprehensive survey of more than 1,300 technology leaders running internal IT at organizations worldwide, provides valuable insights into the top priorities and challenges facing businesses in today's dynamic economic landscape.
As economic conditions continue to evolve, companies of all sizes are reassessing their operations and business strategies to remain competitive and profitable.
The top trends identified by the report include:
- Impact of economic uncertainty: One of the significant findings is the impact of economic uncertainty on organizations. In an effort to stay cost-efficient and productive, businesses are increasingly looking to outsource their IT services to managed service providers (MSPs).
- Essential automation and integration: Organizations are increasingly looking to replace legacy tools with faster and more responsive options. Companies also plan to allocate resources toward integration and automation capabilities to enhance productivity and unlock growth opportunities.
- Cybersecurity remains a top concern: Despite economic conditions, organizations are placing a strong emphasis on acquiring talent in this area. They are actively hiring cybersecurity professionals either through internal hires or by outsourcing to MSPs that provide specialized cybersecurity services.
The Challenges of IT Operations in 2023
The Kaseya report identified a number key challenges that face IT operations in 2023.
"There are multiple challenges that IT professionals face, including tool fatigue, cybersecurity, and legacy IT systems hampering growth and innovation," Chris McKie, vice president of product marketing, security and networking solutions at Kaseya, told ITPro Today.
Tool fatigue is the result of having too many tools. Most ITOps professionals have too many tools to manage, McKie said, which explains why so many respondents to the Kaseya survey raised the need to increase IT productivity through automation. To be able to reduce their tool stack, IT pros need tools that automate more and integrate better so that they can focus on more strategic initiatives, he said.
Looking at the cybersecurity challenge, McKie said the industry as a whole continues to face a shortage of cybersecurity professionals, driving many organizations to invest more in security — people, technologies, and outsourcing — where it makes sense.
Budget Is Down, Working Hours Are Up
One way some enterprises are dealing with the current economy is with budget cuts.
Approximately 40% of the survey respondents reported an increase in IT budgets, consistent with Kaseya's findings for last year. However, 18% of those surveyed experienced a decrease in their 2023 budget, representing an 8% increase from 2022. Among the areas facing budget cuts, 40% expected reductions in software spending, 35% anticipated cuts in hardware spending, and 29% believed that training and certifications would be impacted.
Despite shrinking budgets and resources, workloads remain heavy. An astounding 62% of respondents reported frequently working on holidays or weekends. Nearly half of them admitted to pulling all-nighters, and around 40% confessed to working consecutive weeks of 50+ hours.
How Enterprise ITOps Teams Are Dealing with Economic Uncertainty
Respondents to the Kaseya survey indicated two aspects of how to deal with uncertain economic times, according to McKie.
First is the need to outsource where it makes sense. By outsourcing security, network and endpoint monitoring, help desk, and related infrastructure management, businesses gain efficiencies by reducing headcount needed for these functions, which frees up resources to tackle other strategic initiatives. Unfortunately, one of the byproducts of rough economic times is an increase in cyberattacks.
"Threat actors count on IT and security budgets being cut, with the expectation that attack surfaces will be exposed and vulnerable," McKie said. "What's interesting in this report is that respondents are increasing their cybersecurity spend, which is unquestionably the prudent approach to take."
Looking forward, McKie noted that there is at least one topic destined to change in next year, and that is IT staffing growth.
"Although cybersecurity staffing growth tops the chart today, the need for technicians with AI/ML and automation skills will skyrocket over the next few years, perhaps even eclipsing the need for more cybersecurity professionals," he said.
About the authorSean Michael Kerner is an IT consultant, technology enthusiast and tinkerer. He consults to industry and media organizations on technology issues.