Study finds no rest for the IT weary

IT pros are spending too much time on manual routine tasks and denying themselves a good night's sleep.

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A new report finds that most IT pros aren't getting a good night's rest. In fact, 87% of those surveyed working in midsized companies said they're unable to avoid working evenings, weekends and holidays.

Go ahead. Pour yourself another cup of coffee. You'll need it.

The sad truth is that in medium-sized companies, IT pros are still forced to work outside of regular business hours in order to finish routine IT tasks. Only 13% of IT staff in midsized companies are able to avoid working overtime, compared with 20% at large companies and 34% at small companies.

The reason: Lack of automation, according to Diane Hagglund of King Research, the California-based firm that conducted the study.

"Corporate IT departments spend significant time and resources managing their server and desktop computers. Many of these tasks -- patch management, inventory, new machine deployment and many others -- can be time-consuming and expensive."

SMBs playing catch up

Not surprisingly, medium-sized companies are behind the curve when it comes to automating routine IT tasks such as patch management, software/hardware inventory, software distribution, security enforcement, help desk ticket management and new machine deployment. Nineteen percent of participants in the midmarket space have essentially no IT automation, and for any given IT task, only half of the companies in this space automate the task, the survey found.

In fact, while larger companies are automating their routine IT processes at a much higher rate (82%) than companies in the midmarket space (54%), only 29% of smaller companies automate these kinds of tasks.

It costs how much?

By far the greatest complaint by medium-sized companies regarding automation tools had to do with their cost, said Sheila Baker, a spokesperson for automation tool provider KACE Networks Inc. in Mountain View, Calif. (KACE commissioned King Research to do the study, although no mention of KACE or its products were mentioned in the survey.)

"They want the tools but haven't been able to afford them," said Baker, whose company designs and markets products to medium-sized firms.

While Baker's comments could be construed as biased, other research firms corroborate that enterprise-like technology is too expensive. Good news for buyers: There are a number of companies such as KACE that cater to the small and medium-sized firms bringing more affordable technology to your door.

Maybe now you can go home and get some sleep.

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Kate Evans-Correia, News Director

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