Trends in infrastructure and operations in 2022

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The Covid-19 pandemic has shown that infrastructure and operations (I&O) professionals can meet changing business needs, but the future will be even more dynamic as businesses move quickly to exploit new opportunities.

Infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders are expected to be able to deliver more adaptable and resilient services from anywhere – and to an increasingly distributed workforce. 

“I&O leaders need to drive change, not simply absorb it,” said Jeffrey Hewitt, research vice president at Gartner, when presenting the key trends that will impact the area in 2022. They are:

1 – Just-In-Time Infrastructure

The speed at which infrastructure can be deployed is becoming just as important as putting the right infrastructure in the right place – colocation, data-center, at the edge, and more. This is the idea behind just-in-time infrastructure.

Borrowed from the term ‘just-in-time manufacturing,” this trend aims to reduce infrastructure deployment times as well as fuel enterprise responsiveness to business needs and anywhere operations. Gartner expects it to be a differentiating factor when enterprises compare and negotiate with service providers moving forward.

The future is not about the data centre, or the cloud, or edge – it’s about creating an environment that will allow IT to deploy business applications and workloads anywhere, anytime, at any time.

2 – Digital Natives

Digital-native companies are those that made public cloud and other digital capabilities part of their business model from the start, such as ride-sharing applications or digital food delivery services. They combine different revenue approaches to monetize digital assets to gain new customers and boost market share and have only become more commonplace since the onset of the pandemic.

“There is an opportunity for traditional I&O organizations to leverage the digital-native counterparts that thrived during the pandemic to also produce highly agile, innovative, and competitive offerings themselves, or join those that can,” said Hewitt. “I&O leaders are faced with a ‘join or compete’ dilemma.”

3 – Management Confluence

This trend reflects the need for the growing number of management and monitoring tools – from IT service management (ITSM) to artificial intelligence operations (AIOps) and more – to be brought together in a single, comprehensive tool. Such integration is indispensable in the adoption of composable technologies, one of the three domains of business composability, which allows components of systems and data to combine more quickly and easily.

According to the 2022 Gartner CIO and Technology Executive Survey, 58% of high-composability enterprises build out integration capabilities for data, analytics, and applications. These organizations reported better business performance compared with peers or competitors in the past year.

“I&O leaders can extend composability throughout the entire technology stack by inventorying their current management tool usage and identifying those that can be combined to form a more valuable, all-inclusive portfolio that improves I&O agility and drives optimal business results,” said Hewitt.

4 – Data Proliferation

Data will continue to multiply in variety, velocity, and volume. As businesses continue to expand their data collection and holding efforts, I&O will be instrumental in guiding the policies surrounding processing, retention, and legal requirements of the enterprise’s data.

“I&O workforces need to work closely with their chief data officer to expand data literacy and effectively support data management across the enterprise,” said Hewitt.

Source: Gartner

5 – Business Acumen

I&O leaders are guiding their functions through a rapidly changing and distributed technology environment, which is threatened by the IT talent gap and requires new skills. According to a recent Gartner survey, 64% of I&O leaders point to insufficient skills and resources as one of their greatest challenges this past year.

“Technical skills’ shelf life is shortening,” said Hewitt. “As the I&O function is asked to provide more business justification for what they do, organizations are looking for I&O new hires to have business backgrounds rather than strictly technical degrees.”

Gartner expects that by 2025, CIOs will fill 65% of open I&O leader positions with people that have no I&O experience.

6 – Career Ladders to Career Lattices

Similar to the business acumen trend, I&O is moving away from single domain career paths driven by workloads and legacy technical skills. In fact, 29% of the skills in an average I&O job posting in 2018 will not be needed by 2022, according to Gartner Talent Neuron data.

Instead, I&O teams are moving laterally across a competency-based lattice that takes into account softer skills and emphasizes both learning agility and cross-domain expertise.

“While this certainly requires a mindset adjustment for some of the more tenured I&O workers, there will be much more opportunity within I&O teams as they move away from territorial thinking and toward fostering a collaborative environment,” said Hewitt.

According to Gartner, reshaping and transforming infrastructure and operations (I&O) requires a resilient and change-ready workforce.

Principais vantagens, segundo o Gartner:

  • “Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs can help I&O leaders address their most important challenges: talent shortages, innovation bottlenecks and resistance to change.”
  • “I&O leaders work in a fragile monoculture. This needs to change for I&O leaders to adapt to unpredictable and changing conditions.”
  • “To succeed in DEI, you need to adopt three principles. Be curious. Be collaborative. Be courageous.”
  • “Diversity is the fruit of inclusion and equity. To make your team more diverse, you need to make it more inclusive. To attract and retain non-traditional talent, you must have equity and inclusion.”
  • Gartner’s research shows that cultural change is the top challenge for 33% of I&O leaders.
  • “As changing the I&O culture is something that keeps you up at night, you need to think and act differently. Facilitate psychological safety, and to understand psychological safety, you need to understand agile DevOps.”
  • “Set goals to recognize your team members. Learn how each employee likes to be recognized and better understand your team.”
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