IT pros want to be credited for more than 'just keeping the lights on,' report says

Nearly 80% of IT pros believe they would bring more value to their business if they didn't spend as much time on routine tasks.

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Almost half of IT professionals (44%) reported feeling undervalued in the workplace, with senior management viewing their presence as simply "keeping the lights on," according to INAP's State of IT Infrastructure Management survey released on Wednesday. The report found nearly 8 in 10 IT professionals believe they could bring more value to their organizations if they reduced time spent on routine tasks.

The report surveyed 500 IT professionals who work with data center, server, and cloud infrastructures to gain insight into their perspectives surrounding their current responsibilities and the future of IT. Changes in IT infrastructure strategies are the main driving force behind IT's attitudes about their roles, the report found.

SEE: Data center automation research report 2018: Despite growth in data, automation adoption remains slow (Tech Pro Research)

IT infrastructures are moving away from on-premise data centers and into the cloud or colocation data centers, according to the report--confirming the general perception in the field in the recent years. This purpose of this move is to improve infrastructure, data center resiliency, disaster recovery, and network performance, the report found.

This desire to physically move data out of data centers aligns with another major shift: IT practitioners want their responsibilities to also move away from data center and infrastructure upkeep, and instead towards more value-added tasks, according to the report. With the majority (86%) of respondents claiming IT as the organization's leaders of digital transformation, they believe IT deserves to be less of an operational cost center, and more as a center for innovation.

"As enterprise digital transformation initiatives accelerate, it's no surprise that IT teams are leading the way and that organizations are re-examining their IT infrastructure strategies to drive efficiencies and results," said Jennifer Curry, senior vice president of global cloud services at INAP, in a press release. "With their infrastructure off premise and the right tools and partners in place, IT teams can focus on true business unit alignment and unlock IT's potential as a center of innovation."

The average IT professional is interrupted by infrastructure issues six times each month during non-work hours, the report found. If these employees were given 16 hours back previously spent on routine tasks, then 14% of that time would be used taking charge of their work-life balance, 12% would research emerging technologies, and 11% would be developing new products, according to the report.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • Today, 44% of IT professionals feel like senior management sees their purpose as simply "keeping the lights on." -- INAP, 2018
  • As data moves out of the data center, IT professionals want to spend more time working on higher-value tasks. -- INAP, 2018

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Image: iStockphoto/Antonio_Diaz