Survey: IT tools may add, rather than reduce, complexity

Survey: IT tools may add, rather than reduce, complexity

Much has been said in praise of new IT tactics and technologies such as DevOps, cloud and virtualization, but a new survey shows they have a downside, too. Specifically, these new paradigms are adding complexity to IT organizations even as they aim to make workers more effective and efficient.

More than half of public-sector IT workers said that their organizations are growing more complex, according to “The Big Data Campaign Trail,” a survey by Clarus Research Group for Splunk that was released on Aug. 29. In contrast, 35 percent of the 634 federal, state and local government, and higher education IT decision-makers found that the new paradigms make their organizations simpler.

Government respondents said their biggest difficulties are insufficient IT resources such as budget and staff (44 percent), followed and complexity of IT systems and technology (38 percent). Other problems include the increasing number and sophistication of cyberattacks (31 percent), lack of coordination among IT personnel (30 percent) and lack of integration among IT solutions (29 percent).

Despite the problems, 71 percent of respondents said that insights from IT operations data is either extremely or very important to the agency’s mission, with a quarter of them ranking IT analytics as a top priority. Still, half of respondents said that the most common challenge to using data to diagnose IT problems is the different formats and data types.

Looking forward, respondents said they expect to see investment and focus increase somewhat in enterprise performance management, regulatory and compliance management and enterprise risk management. Thirty-two percent expected investment in cloud computing would likely greatly increase.

The survey broke the results down by state and local government, too, with 46 percent of the 200 state and local IT decision-makers polled agreeing that new IT paradigms add complexity, compared to 37 percent who said they simplify things.

Additionally, slightly more state and local respondents than federal ones find budget and staff to be one of the greatest challenges, with 47 percent citing that, compared to 44 percent of all sectors. Like the overall group, about half of state and local respondents said data formats and types make diagnosing IT problems difficult.

Also, although 92 percent of state and local respondents said insights into IT data were at least somewhat important to their organization:

  • 53 percent lack holistic visibility across IT systems.
  • 58 percent gather information from systems manually to try and understand a problem.
  • 55 percent of troubleshooting is manual and ad-hoc.
  • 23 percent are less confident in their organization’s visibility into IT than they were a year ago.
  • 14 percent have enough analytical tools that are being used to their fullest.

About the Author

Stephanie Kanowitz is a freelance writer based in northern Virginia.

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