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      Pandemic

      New Report: IT Infrastructure & The Pandemic


      The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to be felt for years to come, and for many enterprises, that means a significant shift in how and where they power their applications and workloads. But it’s not all doom and gloom. IT professionals are in a unique position to lead infrastructure innovation that will not only allow companies to keep going but will create efficiency and value to propel them into the future.

      In this year’s State of IT Infrastructure Management report, we explore the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on IT infrastructure plans, IT professionals and the future of the industry.

      Download your free copy of the report to gain insight into what’s changed and what to do next.

      Key Takeaways From a Tumultuous Year

      • The pandemic is prompting a majority of companies to accelerate or kickstart hybrid cloud and colocation migrations, according to a survey of 500 IT leaders and infrastructure managers.
      • IT teams are reevaluating how they approach a remote workforce and a global economy increasingly reliant on digital services.
      • Despite the troubling times, optimism among IT teams has remained relatively strong

      The Off-Prem Migration Continues to Accelerate

      In our first State of IT Infrastructure Management report, published in 2018, 56 percent of participants said their organizations planned to move at least some of their on-prem infrastructure off-premise over the next three years. In 2019, that number jumped to 88 percent. The events of 2020 have solidified and sped up this resolve to move at least some infrastructure off-premise, including among many organizations that had no previous plans to migrate.

      IT Leaders Are Choosing Hybrid Solutions

      Cloud solutions—both hyperscale public cloud and hosted private cloud—have previously been the solution of choice for organizations migrating off-premise. This year, colocation has joined these cloud solutions as a top option for IT leaders looking to downsize commercial real estate footprints as a result of the pandemic. Read the report to learn more about how the pandemic has affected environment choices.

      IT Pros Are Essential, And Now Everyone Knows

      In case there was any doubt before 2020, IT professionals are essential workers, both to their organizations and every day users at large. They’ve risen to the new challenges of remote work while continuing to maintain and protect all aspects of their companies’ infrastructure. Being viewed as essential, both my company execs and colleagues, has helped spur optimism amongst IT staff, especially when it comes to the future. Download the report to see what’s contributing to this positive outlook.

      Take on 2021 With Renewed Vigor and Confidence

      The challenges of remote work and accelerated digital transformation initiatives will remain at the forefront for IT infrastructure managers around the world in the coming year.

      Is your company ready for what’s next? It may seem exhausting to think about the new year after dealing with the constant change and uncertainty of 2020. But with 2021 less than a month away, we at INAP want to ensure that you’re ready to tackle the year and meet your goals. Review the report and then reach out—our intelligent managed services and comprehensive infrastructure solutions can help you drive innovation and meet your objectives.

      Survey Methodology

      The data reflected in this survey was derived from a survey of 500 IT infrastructure managers and senior leaders employed full-time at companies in the U.S. with greater than 100 employees. Any employees of cloud and data center service providers were excluded. Commissioned by INAP and facilitated by Pollfish in August 2020, the survey’s margin of error is +/- 5 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

      Get your free copy of the report.

      DOWNLOAD NOW >

      Laura Vietmeyer


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      COVID-19 Pandemic Shines Spotlight on How Essential Soft Skills are to the Future of Tech


      In the day-to-day life of a workplace, success often hinges on how well a team works together. All the technical skill in the world won’t help an IT team or company reach its goals if it’s plagued by poor communication, poor leadership and lack of flexibility, among other things. These soft skills have proven even more important in the age of COVID-19, with a rise in remote work and the corresponding shift in the ways we work with each other.

      Even before COVID-19 disrupted work as we know it, soft skills were so important that one study found 67 percent of human resources professionals declined to offer a job to an otherwise qualified technology candidate because of a lack of soft skills.

      Prior to the pandemic, we asked 500 senior IT professionals and infrastructure managers to rank the soft skills they thought would be most important for future IT professionals to possess. The attributes were ranked 1-6, with 6 being the least important. Below are the average ranks.

      Most Important Soft Skills for Future IT Professionals

      Soft Skills in Tech

      Since these results were collected, the world has obviously changed. And yet, our “new normal” only underscores the results.

      Flexibility Is the No. 1 Soft Skill for IT Pros

      Based on the rapid changes we’ve seen in tech and the world at large, it should come as no surprise that “flexibility” was ranked most important. Working with a team that’s willing to step up to the plate and roll with the punches will lead to better outcomes than working with players who are rigid and unwilling to bend as priorities shift.

      “Hiring managers need to identify flexibility as a key behavior and skill set during the hiring process,” said Jackie Coats, INAP’s Senior Vice President of Human Resources. “To evaluate it, have the candidate explain a time when they had to deal with an unforeseen situation, and what they did to accomplish their goal regardless of the surprise.”

      Business priorities are often adjusted and the demand on IT teams will move with them. Or a team member might leave unexpectedly, and the rest of the team will need to fill in.

      “Another question to determine flexibility would be to ask how the employee has helped outside of their role when the team was short-staffed or under a tight deadline,” Coats added.

      As we’ve seen remote work become the norm for many businesses, flexibility is an important trait for both employees and for supervisors to possess.

      “Being flexible during these times is a critical tool we as leaders must leverage,” said Matt Cuneio, INAP’s Vice President, Global Support. “Nothing is more important to the health of a team than confidence that we’re all in this together. We’re going to be flexible with each other, ensuring we all win.”

      A Need for Innovation Necessitates Creativity

      Change often feels unexpected, as we’ve seen with the pandemic, but it’s always inevitable. In another pre-pandemic survey, we wanted to get an idea of what exactly will be driving change in IT roles now and in the future, so we asked our participants to choose the top driver. The need for innovation took the top spot, selected by 27 percent of participants. (Robust security and infrastructure scalability came in a close second and third.)

      All of this change and need for innovation emphasizes the importance of creativity — the second ranked soft skill for IT pros. IT teams are also asked to problem solve on a daily basis and come up with new solutions to help the business achieve its goals or to find solutions to unique problems, like how to adjust networking strategies for a decentralized workforce.

      Undervalued Empathy?

      Empathy is the ability to identify with another person by sharing in their perspective and feelings. This soft skill is commonly valued in the helping professions, like counseling and social work, but can bring great value to teams in all professions by helping develop camaraderie and trust. Yet empathy ranked lowest on our list.

      Cuneio shared his thoughts on the impact of empathy for IT, both within a team setting and with customers. “I had a friend tell me once, ‘Listen to understand.’  A listening ear is a powerful and necessary tool in today’s world,” he said.

      Fostering empathy between individuals helps people feel heard and understood, which in teams can benefit collaboration and brainstorming sessions where colleagues feel empowered to share ideas.

      “Every interaction you have is an opportunity to impact someone’s life,” Cuneio added. “It always amazes me the response I get by asking the simple question ‘How are things?’ The key component to this question is to listen and inquire to the response.”

      It’s also been shown that companies that have a more empathetic culture outperform less empathetic companies by 20 percent. The bottom line: Individual empathy shouldn’t be overlooked.

      Laura Vietmeyer


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