Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:

  • 51% of IT professionals said cloud/hybrid IT was their organization’s no. 1 most important IT strategy today. — SolarWinds, 2018
  • 44% of iT professionals ranked containers as the most important technology priority. — SolarWinds, 2018

The cloud continues to dominate enterprise IT efforts, as 51% of North American IT professionals said that hybrid IT was the no. 1 most important technology for their organizational IT strategy, according to a Wednesday report from SolarWinds.

The North American version of the report surveyed 234 IT practitioners, managers, and directors across different industries and company sizes in the US and Canada. Of those, 94% named the cloud/hybrid IT as one of the top five most important technologies to their organizations’ IT strategy today. This marks a rapid change from two years ago, when more than one-third of respondents said that cloud computing was either somewhat important or not important at all.

Automation was ranked the no. 2 priority for technology strategy (74%), followed by big data analytics (72%), the Internet of Things (IoT) (61%), and software-defined everything (50%).

SEE: Quick glossary: Hybrid cloud (Tech Pro Research)

“The narrative in today’s IT industry revolves around transformative technologies like AI, machine learning, blockchain, and more,” said Joe Kim, executive vice president and global CTO of SolarWinds said in a press release. “These technologies are unquestionably important, but the results of this year’s study reveal that IT professionals are still prioritizing investments in technologies that help run day-to-day operations, and choosing initiatives that deliver more immediate value.”

Despite the growth of the cloud, 58% of IT professionals said that hybrid IT was their greatest challenge when it comes to implementation, rollout, and/or day-to-day performance, the survey found. Some 47% of respondents said that their IT environments are not operating at optimal levels, and nearly half said they spend 50% or more of their time reactively maintaining and troubleshooting their IT environment.

Use of containers to solve cloud computing challenges also grew this year, as 44% of respondents said containers were the most important technology priority today. Meanwhile, investments in AI and machine learning were predicted to become more important in the next three to five years, IT professionals said.

SEE: How to become a cloud engineer: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)

Of those who indicated that their environments were not optimized, 43% said inadequate organizational strategy was one of the top three barriers, followed closely by inadequate investment in areas such as user and technology training (42%).

“To achieve optimized performance and work toward a successful digital transformation, IT professionals require deeper strategic collaboration with business leaders,” according to the press release.