Network buyers buck global economic trend

As the economy sputters, IT decision-makers ramp up spending, according to a new survey. Could Warren Buffett have something to do with this?

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“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree long ago,” said Warren Buffett, famed financial investor and head of Berkshire Hathaway, the multinational conglomerate holding company.

That sage quote speaks to the need for long-term thinking in business — an approach that is important in technology, too. And judging from the results of the Network World 2016 State of the Network Survey, many technology managers are taking the long view to plan their IT investments.

Note that in the survey, 51 per cent of respondents at enterprise organizations (those that have more than 1,000 workers) and 45 per cent at small and mid-sized businesses expect their IT budgets to increase this year.

That might come as a surprise. After all, we persistently get the message that global economic growth has slowed to a crawl. Shouldn’t these network buyers expect their budgets to shrink?

Perhaps the respondents know what Buffett knows: If you want your business to grow in the future, you have to invest in it now. That means increasing your IT budgets even when the global financial picture is far from pretty.

For the record, survey responses suggest organizations will likely spend on network reliability, IT talent and data security. A few more noteworthy results:

Security is the network buyer’s problem

Eighty-four per cent of respondents said they see networking teams becoming more involved in security initiatives. The message for network managers: Your colleagues in other IT departments and business areas could start to call on you more often for advice about data security, including recommended solutions to novel threats. If you haven’t yet, you might want to consider adding data protection to your professional development list.

Clouds overhead

Companies are turning toward the cloud — and away from in-house data centres. Approximately 60 per cent of network buyers said they’ll increase their cloud-related spending this year, up from 43 per cent in 2015. And “the most popular spot for spending cuts will be the data centre,” the report says, pointing out that 18 per cent of respondents planned to reduce their data centre investments in 2016.

We have how many tablet users?

Finally, wireless is an increasing challenge. According to the report: “Keeping up with the proliferation of end-user devices remains the top Wi-Fi concern, at 44 per cent again this year, followed by ensuring the Wi-Fi infrastructure is capable of supporting evolving needs such as video streaming (38 per cent) and ensuring Wi-Fi coverage throughout the enterprise (37 per cent).” This suggests that network managers would be smart to follow developments in Wi-Fi, so they know about the technologies that might be employed in the near- and long-term to handle escalating capacity requirements.

Wireless, cloud and security: three focus areas for network managers for 2016, according to the report. And according to Buffett, smart IT buyers will invest in those areas now to help prepare their organizations for sustainable growth well into the future.

Image courtesy of Free Digital Photos

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