I&O Professionals: Develop Emerging Technology Skills in 6 Key Areas

November 18, 2021

Contributor: Meghan Rimol

Develop your skills in cloud, security, automation and other technology domains to keep pace with digital transformation.

As organizations begin to recover from the pandemic, IT infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders want to adopt new, innovative technologies. However, they’re facing a major roadblock: a critical shortage of talent who can implement and support these technologies. In fact, IT executives see the talent shortage as the most significant adoption barrier to a majority of emerging technologies, according to the Gartner 2021-2023 Emerging Technology Roadmap Survey.

“I&O leaders are under pressure to accelerate emerging technology adoption timelines, yet a lack of qualified IT professionals is a significant hindrance to adoption, particularly for cloud, edge and automation technologies,” confirms Yinuo Geng, Vice President and Team Manager at Gartner.

Download now: 2021-2023 Emerging Technology Roadmap

As organizations continue to face hiring challenges, one way to overcome the talent shortage is by focusing on developing your existing team’s skills and competencies to navigate the following technology trends.

1. Cloud infrastructure and platform services 

Organizations are investing in cloud infrastructure to enable the smooth movement of work environments and information between physical and virtual locations. They are also increasingly switching from traditional enterprise software deployed in cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) environments to serverless cloud platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) alternatives to enhance employee productivity. I&O teams must develop skills in managing hybrid cloud and multicloud platform services to support the creation and management of a resilient technological foundation for the enterprise. 

Key technologies: Microservices, distributed cloud systems, cloud access security brokers (CASBs), data science and machine learning platforms, cloud ERP, artificial intelligence (AI) cloud services

2. Infrastructure security

Improving and maintaining IT infrastructure security is a priority for organizations as they tackle an increasing number of threats to the business. For example, in a hybrid work environment, organizations are handling more endpoint devices, creating new potential threat vectors. Hybrid work also increases the complexity of securing organizational data and applications that are distributed across service boundaries and lines of business.

As a result, 64% of survey respondents reported that they have increased or are planning to increase investments in security technologies in 2021. Focus on familiarizing yourself with the new and emerging technologies that are being created and deployed to protect organizations in the evolving threat landscape. 

Key technologies: Endpoint protection platforms (EPPs), secure access service edge (SASE), cloud workload protection platforms (CWPPs), static application security testing (SAST), zero trust network access (ZTNA) 

3. Network technologies

I&O is responsible for ensuring continued, uninterrupted access to enterprise networks and effective delivery of network services within their organizations. The need for stable network access in a hybrid work model has fueled increased investment in network technologies in recent years. However, many organizations struggle to recruit networking experts, limiting their ability to adopt emerging network technologies. Developing skills around the network technologies that enable reliable connectivity for a distributed workforce will be a key differentiator.

Key technologies: Container networking, Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), cloud-managed networks (CMNs)

4. IT automation

I&O leaders increasingly rely on automation to improve efficiency, quality and speed of delivery. However, skills shortages are a critical adoption barrier for IT automation technologies. I&O professionals who develop an expertise in automation will be able to drive strong business value for their enterprise. Focus, in particular, on automation technologies that optimize the internal customer experience, as such technologies are becoming an essential component of the customer journey.

Key technologies: AI IT operations (AIOps) platforms, cloud-testing tools and services, digital experience monitoring, infrastructure as code (IaC)

5. Digital workplace technologies

After the initial surge in digital workplace technology investment at the start of the pandemic, demand for new digital workplace technologies plateaued in 2021. Enterprises’ digital workplace ambitions are now pivoting toward emerging technologies that enable a resilient foundation for employees to work anywhere. While digital workplace technologies tend to require less advanced skills than some other technology categories, you must keep pace with new and emerging applications in this space as they are a core foundation for enterprises in the hybrid work world.

Key technologies: Digital adoption solutions, cloud unified communications (UCaaS) 

6. Storage and database

Adoption of storage and database emerging technologies have slowed this year as I&O leaders seek to maintain and optimize existing storage and database infrastructure. Currently, leaders are focused on building a strong cloud-based foundation for database and storage solutions. It's smart to develop your skills around technologies that enable the creation of new internal applications at scale, such as object storage and software-defined storage (SDS), which will see growing adoption in 2022 and beyond.

Key technologies: Public cloud storage, software-defined storage

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