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CIOs are embracing software defined networks

CIOs and IT professionals have been slow to adopt software-defined networks for a number of reasons: security concerns, lack of familiarity, and the lack of skill sets required of employees. But attitudes are changing, according to a new survey from Logicalis, the international IT solutions and managed services provider.

The firm’s second annual Optimal Services Study, a survey of top IT pros spanning 24 countries, found that 61% of the CIOs who responded said they expect software-defined solutions to impact their IT services and delivery strategies over the next three years, 34% said over the next two years, and 10% said over the next 12 months.

“Using the kind of policy-driven, programmable toolsets made available through software-defined solutions, CIOs can free time and resources that can be better spent focused on IT service delivery and management throughout the enterprise and can both reduce cost and complexity as well as increase the speed and flexibility with which they can respond to IT requests going forward,” Mike Martin, senior vice president of Solutions and Services at Logicalis, said in the report.

According to various articles, there are many benefits to utilizing SDNs. It can help lower costs because SDN eliminates the necessity to buy expensive hardware that is needed when it comes to traditional network upkeep. SDN also means the network administrator or engineer can simply add more virtual switches or routers instead of physically visiting each switch router. And it also allows for the flexibility to move to the cloud, whether public or private, as well as allows network engineers and administrators to respond quickly to changing business requirements.

However, this move towards utilizing SDNs does require a new set of skills from IT, and  it seems CIOs are willing to pay a premium for these skills. The survey found that 65% of the CIOs who responded to the survey said they are prepared to pay more for the skills required to make the most of SDN solutions; a fourth of the CIOs said they would pay 5% to 10% more and a fifth said they’d pay 10% to 20% more.

Even better, SDN skills paired with business acumen

Want to be even more valuable in a CIO’s eyes? Then, according to the report, pairing IT skills such as SDN knowledge, with business acumen is the way to go.

“CIOs are recognizing that, as they transform their IT departments to be internal service providers, they will need to embrace the move from technology management to business service delivery, something that requires a new type of skill set with an emphasis on melding technological understanding with business acumen,” Martin said.

This value of business acumen coupled with IT skills was apparent in the survey with 64% of the CIOs responding that they first look at business skills like communication, service management, and business analysis.

“Each CIO will be examining the organization’s staff, investing in and cultivating the business skills of existing IT team members as well as replacing outdated technology skills and people with those that understand the shift to a world where business needs now dictate technology decisions,” Martin said.