Technology is changing at a scary pace. But, what really haunts information technology (I.T.) decision makers as they sit in front of their computer screens late at night?
What new innovations will rise up to take over the underworld? What technologies do they envision meeting their swift demise? Finn Partners’ Technology Practice gazed into the bubbling cauldron to survey 511 U.S. I.T. decision makers to find out the terrifying (and not so terrifying) truth to these and other supernatural mysteries of the I.T. world.
“The challenges that I.T. decision makers face each day are truly daunting,” stated Sabrina Horn, managing partner and technology practice lead at Finn Partners. “From aging technology infrastructures to cybersecurity threats to the need to keep up with the latest innovations, it’s no wonder we received a lot of scary, uncertain opinions about what lies ahead. But, these findings also highlight the need for technology providers to better communicate the business outcomes they deliver making it a little less uncertain for everyone.”
Some Tech Will Rest-in-Peace
Many technologies have turned to dust over the last several decades. When Finn Partners asked I.T. decision makers which technologies will rest-in-peace within the next two years, the findings demonstrated the continuing surge in cloud computing and cloud-based services as a driver behind less offline storage. This paradoxical shift, which has been supported by faster connection speeds and the surge in mobile devices, reinforces why I.T. decision makers believe that many technologies will soon go the way of Betamax, including:
- Desktop computers - 30%
- Hard disk drives - 28%
- USB flash drives - 19%
- Desktop virtualization – 10%
The findings also point to some unique differences by age and gender that could provide insight into how technology providers should market their solutions. For example, women appear to be more open to pending changes with 63% stating that least one of these technologies will be gone in two years compared to 55% of their male counterparts. Younger audiences are also more interested in the progression of technology with 36% of those under the age of 35 stating desktops will soon be six feet under compared to only 26% of those 55 and over.
Terrifying Challenges Lie Ahead
Besides those who are trying to conjure up Bloody Mary in the mirror, there are I.T. decision makers who are truly terrified about the challenges they face each day. When asked what keeps them up at night, they pointed to the following:
- Information or data breach - 31%
- Major service outages – 26%
- Ransomware threat – 22%
- Inside threats/rogue employees – 19%
- Zero-day virus – 18%
- DoS attack/hack – 18%
These findings point to the ongoing critical business need for enterprises to invest in cybersecurity solutions that address the external and internal threats that plague I.T. infrastructures, especially with the profound increase in the number of devices and sensors that have access to the Internet. Interestingly, women expressed less of a concern over ransomware and inside threats than men with a variance of nearly 10%, while age was a factor in decisions around information/data breaches with those 55 and older citing this more often (35%) compared to their under 35 counterparts (24%).
Shackles of I.T. Decision Makers
Managing an I.T. infrastructure isn’t a walk in the park, and I.T. decision makers are often restrained by issues that are outside of their control. For technology vendors, responses to the Finn Partners survey point to the need to provide price/performance options for the solutions they offer as well as build-in more training to ensure I.T. professionals are leveraging their solutions to their greatest advantage. Survey respondents pointed to the following challenges as those that shackle their efforts and make it the most difficult to meet the needs of the enterprises they represent:
- Budget constraints – 21%
- Disaster recovery/high availability – 16%
- I.T. skills development and training – 14%
- End-user training – 11%
Not All Doom and Gloom
The I.T. world isn’t totally frightening. In fact, many technologies offer tremendous advantages for enterprises. When Finn Partners ask I.T. decision makers which new technologies would rise up like the Great Pumpkin to provide the most value to their organizations over the next two years, they pointed to:
- Cloud services – 52%
- Big data – 23%
- Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) – 23%
- 3D printing – 23%
- Virtual reality – 20%
- Advanced machine learning – 13%
- Mobile backend as a services (MBaaS) – 10%
The results suggest that while the cloud continues to gain ground as a technology that provides more and more value to enterprises, the services that the cloud helps enable, such as applications requiring intensive processing power and access to large amounts of data, are also offering greater value for enterprises. The need is greatest among larger enterprises as nearly one-third (32%) of respondents from companies with more than 500 employees state that big data will become extremely valuable to their organization compared with 17% of those from smaller companies.
The increased interest in 3D printing may also point to a boon for real-time, 3D-printed Halloween costumes next year, but regardless of whether that occurs, the findings reinforce that the tremendous move to the cloud continues, and the use of data as a competitive differentiator is more important than ever. Enterprises will need assurances that their cloud-based data is secure and easily accessible to their employees and broader supply chains.
“As I.T. decision makers continue to face challenges that keep them up at night, these findings help demonstrate the need for continual vigilance in finding ways to look for better I.T. solutions that protect enterprise from outside predators and ever-present zombies,” continued Horn.
Finn Partners, is changing the technology communications landscape with its integrated campaigns, deep tech expertise, relationships, and service approach to help clients achieve their business goals. Finn Partners Technology works with both emerging and established market-leading companies in cybersecurity and mobile, IoT and consumer tech, healthtech and edtech, and enterprise cloud applications like analytics, marketing, artificial intelligence, supply chain and HR. Finn Partners now includes Horn Group in the U.S. and Johnson King in Europe.
About Finn Partners, Inc.
Finn Partners was launched in late 2011 to realize Peter Finn's vision to create a leading communications agency dedicated to shaping a bold new future in which innovation and partnership are strong brand drivers. Finn Partners specializes in the full spectrum of public and corporate affairs services, including digital and social media. Practice areas include arts, consumer, CSR, education, health, technology and travel & lifestyle.
Since inception four years ago, Finn Partners has received six agency awards that are indicators of client and cultural leadership: "Best Midsize Agency" in 2015, "Best Agency to Work For" in 2013 and "Best New Agency" in 2012 from the Holmes Report and “Midsize PR Firm of the Year” in 2015 and “Top Places to Work in PR” in 2013 from PR News. Headquartered in New York City, the company has approximately 500 employees, with offices in Chicago, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Jerusalem, London, Los Angeles, Munich, Nashville, Paris, Portland, Ore., San Francisco and Washington D.C., and offers international capabilities through its own global network and PROI Worldwide. Find us at www.finnpartners.com and follow us on Twitter @finnpartners.
About the Survey
Finn Partners surveyed 511 U.S.-based I.T. decision makers between September 6-13, 2016. Respondents verified themselves as senior employees with decision-making influence in at least one of the following areas: PCs, laptops or tablets; peripherals (e.g., printers, projectors, consumables, etc.); software solutions; servers, storage or virtualization solutions; other I.T. services (e.g., technical support, maintenance, repair, consulting, training, outsourced services, etc.). Some percentages may not equal 100% due to rounding.