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Cloud adoption is accelerating. Gartner says end-user spending on cloud services ballooned 20% in 2022 to nearly US $500 billion. The spending frenzy isn’t about to cool, either; it’s expected to grow by another hundred billion dollars in 2023.

Every business is under pressure. Competitors are spending on resilience and improving products and services. For their part, customers are demanding better experiences from companies. The distributed workforce also has demands — they want flexible work options. Any way you look at it, companies must catch up and spend. 

It’s never been harder to work in IT as teams try to meet competing demands. Pain points include running workloads and applications across both cloud and on-premises infrastructure and supporting both new technologies and legacy infrastructure.  As new features and applications are added, complexity throughout the tech stack grows and spreads exponentially.

IT complexity is a problem we can’t ignore. It’s even affecting the confidence of the tech pros who maintain the systems. 

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A problem of confidence

According to the SolarWinds® IT Trends Report 2022, complexity has negatively impacted the ability of IT teams to support their businesses and the bottom line. 

Worldwide respondents to the survey say the top drivers of increased complexity include new tools and technologies, increased technology requirements from multiple departments and fragmentation between legacy and modern technologies. 

These increased demands point to a potential looming crisis. Findings from the IT Trends Report reveal IT pros lack confidence in their ability to manage today’s complex environments. When asked how confident IT pros were in their organization’s ability to manage complexity, only 16% of respondents said they felt extremely confident.

More than a third of respondents (34%) admitted they weren’t fully equipped to manage complexity, and an additional 6% weren’t confident at all. Most IT pros also believe return on investment (ROI) has been impacted due to increasing IT complexity. 

But there are ways to help combat this crisis in confidence. I’ve included four below.

1. Choose the right payment model

When working with an IT vendor, it’s essential to keep your options open and shop around for the best deal or payment plan.

Subscription or one-off payments have budgetary benefits, but pay-as-you-go IT services shouldn’t be set aside. Providers of these services must commit to making you happy, or you’ll leave. 

Pay-as-you-go IT also allows your team to see a direct link between cost, waste, and inefficiency. It forces IT pros to stay on top of maximizing the usage of what they buy. For example, if there’s a technological lag, they’ll reach out to the provider for a faster fix.

The result: the pay-as-you-go IT service provides ROI for the team.

It’s important to select the right option for the task at hand and the business needs. This selection will also need to be re-evaluated and defended at future budgetary meetings no matter which you choose.

2. Find the solutions suited to your size

Each organization faces different challenges, but the size of the organization can play a big role in determining what tool, strategy, or technology could help better manage IT complexity. For example, more than a third (38%) of enterprise tech pro respondents indicated fragmentation between legacy technologies and new technologies was the leading cause for increased complexity, compared to 29% of their small business counterparts. 

Before you buy anything, factor in the size of your organization. A smaller company may be able to tackle complexity by bringing in one or two external consultants to lay out a strategy, though this might not have the same impact on a larger organization. Instead, larger organizations are better off undertaking a cost-benefit analysis to determine the most effective way to manage big legacy tech stacks. 

3. The domino effect of training 

The role tech professionals play in helping their companies make strategic business decisions regarding emerging technologies can’t be overstated.

IT pros know the limits of their technology initiatives. They also know where the compliance and security risks are — and how technology is best used to meet business goals. 

Still, confidence is waning. Many IT pros feel they have suboptimal visibility into infrastructure and networks and require training and upskilling to get there. 

Comprehensive, firsthand training — including the time to experiment and learn these technologies—is required to create an IT workforce secure and confident in their skills. 

In communicating with management, tech leaders should stress improved app performance, visibility, customer experience, and product resolution have a knock-on effect on business growth.

4. Remember, this isn’t the first time 

Take the time to remind yourself everything changes. The system you loved last year has since been upgraded. The company you relied on seems to have changed its focus and mission. On the surface, tools like Zoom and Slack may connect us, but with every new connection comes an additional layer of IT infrastructure. 

IT pros will need to take a step back and get perspective on the pace of change—and why change is necessary. This last point doesn’t require any technology, but it does require the ability to remember your job has always been about change. 

Fighting the problem of complexity is a battle for all of us. Try these four steps, but buckle your seatbelt, too. Cloud adoption will continue.

Chrystal Taylor is head geek at SolarWinds. 

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