Digital transformation efforts are underway in the vast majority of organizations–but the fast pace of technology adoption has placed significant burdens on development, security, and operations teams, according to a new report from 451 Research and Polyverse provided exclusively to TechRepublic.

Evolving an organization to new IT practices such as DevOps and site reliability engineering (SRE) requires great involvement and cultural change from team and company leaders, the report noted. If the increased demand placed on these teams is left unmanaged, businesses can expect negative outcomes such as outages or security incidents.

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While organizations often discuss the broad shortage of IT skills, it’s important to focus in on the specifics, the report noted. Here are the 12 operations roles that organizations say they currently face the greatest skills shortages in:

  1. Server/systems administration (43%)
  2. DevOps (41%)
  3. Software-defined networking (39%)
  4. VM administration (39%)
  5. Container administration (Docker, etc.) (37%)
  6. General network administration (36%)
  7. Converged infrastructure administration (36%)
  8. Storage administration (33%)
  9. Database administration (31%)
  10. Data scientists (28%)
  11. Application developers (24%)
  12. OpenStack administration (20%)

Infrastructure-focused roles are the most impacted by the skills shortage, the report found. While there is a shortage of administration and networking skills spread across different technologies, baseline systems administration tasks are the ones most affected, the report noted.

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“Organizations have a powerful opportunity to rethink systems administration practices, bringing to bear the full spectrum of technology practices in a bid to optimize the delivery of IT services,” the report stated.

The report offered the following tips for enterprises undergoing digital transformation and facing talent gaps to augment processes:

  • Avoid getting stuck with old thinking and practices. Organizations looking to improve quality of IT delivery using better or more efficient systems administration practices should frequently review and update their operational practices, considering new developments. This includes a combination of incremental improvements to existing processes and considering the use of more disruptive approaches to traditional IT issues.
  • Understand the role of risk management. Risk management is inherent in systems administration management, with operational risk evaluation embedded in every IT decision. In some cases, eliminating risk is the appropriate approach, and in other cases, shifting risk to other entities or to a different time when it can be handled better may be recommended.
  • Look at eliminating classes of issues. Not all IT issues can be summarily eliminated. In certain instances, technology choices can simplify the environment and greatly reduce the burden on IT teams. Simplifications can arise from the automation of necessary tasks by applying modern practices, such as DevOps and SRE, or through thoroughly eliminating problems by rethinking commonly held assumptions.
  • Consider embedded, not bolted-on, security. One of the most interesting aspects of DevOps and SRE practices is the wholesale adoption of automation. In addition to general IT productivity benefits, this trend gives security teams an opportunity to embed a variety of security techniques into the infrastructure for intrinsic cyber resiliency with minimal impact to human workflows.