Software-Defined Solutions Set to Impact IT Strategies for 83% of CIOs

Thursday, January 8, 2015.

Over 80% of CIOs and IT leaders plan to make software-defined solutions part of their wider ICT strategies, according to a recent survey of 177 senior-level professionals from mid-market organisations across 24 countries spanning Europe, North America, Latin America and Asia Pacific.

The study, conducted by Logicalis, found that:

  • Almost two thirds (61%) expect software-defined solutions (SDx) to influence their IT services and delivery strategies over the next three years
  • One third (34%) expect that to happen within the next two years
  • 10% expect to engage with SDx in the next 12 months.

When asked about the research, Mark Rogers, President and COO at Logicalis commented, "These findings are entirely in keeping with CIOs' priorities, as they strive to re-invent IT departments as service brokers and internal service providers.

"Innovations like Software Defined Networks (SDN) and Software Defined Data Centres (SDDC) have the potential to transform networks and data centres into dynamic service platforms – with policy driven programmability making it easier for the new breed of internal service providers to respond to business demand for agile IT whilst reducing the overhead and costs of managing ever more complex operating environments. This fly-by-wire transformation of core IT platforms is positioning software-defined technologies as something CIOs now have on their transformation agenda, and this survey may surprise many to the speed at which many CIOs see SDx becoming an investment priority."

To support plans for investment in software-defined solutions, CIOs are keen to recruit a new breed of business-orientated IT professional, with the skills to effectively translate business needs into policy frameworks that can support extensive IT automation:

  • Just 34% of CIOs cite technical skills as the top priority when recruiting IT staff
  • The remaining two thirds instead focus initially on business skills such as communication, service management and business analysis, which are top priorities for 28%, 15% and 12% of CIOs respectively.

Additionally, 65% of CIOs are prepared to pay more for a higher caliber skillset, to take full advantage of SDx solutions, a quarter would pay 5 - 10% more, whilst 22% of CIOs would pay 10 - 20% more.

Rogers added, "All of the CIOs surveyed in some way recognised the transfer of focus from technology management, to business service delivery, and that is now being reflected in the skills premium many are now expecting and willing to pay for more business aligned employees. The CIO operating as an internal service provider will now be looking to invest in the business skills of existing people, and also have to take some hard decisions to replace outdated technology skills and people with those who can bring the skills needed to operate in a world where every more the business is driving technology choices."