Network Professionals are Reshaping IT Strategy

Network World’s State of the Network research delivers comprehensive insights into the role of the network professional and how changes in technology, and digital transformation overall, affects how they execute the job. This year’s 8th annual State of the Network study is no different, respondents to the survey report that their role is becoming more challenging (84%). Emerging technologies are being introduced at a rapid rate, and network professionals are being challenged to evolve just to keep up. Part of this evolution means that network professionals are having to be more strategic/business oriented (79%) and they’re collaborating with IT colleagues to help drive digital innovation efforts (82%). With emerging technologies and shifting budgets on the horizon, here are some of the key areas that are transforming the network landscape.

Emerging Technology: Edge Computing 

With the influx of data being produced by the expanding Internet of Things (IoT), there’s a need to process and act upon that data more quickly. Edge Computing allows the processing of information to be performed closer to where it is being collected/generated, and the process is changing networking by letting organizations analyze important data in near real-time. As shown in the 2018 State of the Network Study, organizations are adopting Edge as part of their business strategy—56% of networking professionals have plans for Edge Computing at their organizations.

Budgets & Investments

As some of the emerging technologies start to gain traction and IT/network teams make plans to introduce them into the organization, overall technology budgets are expected to grow. This year, average IT budgets grew to $137M, up from $125M in 2017 and network teams are expecting IT budgets to continue to increase (43%) by an average of 10% for enterprise organizations and 15% for SMBs in the coming year. Network professionals are also keeping security top-of-mind when planning budgets for the year—61% are expecting their network security budget to increase, along with application development (61%) and cloud services (60%).

Securing the Network

With security breaches on the rise, tensions are high around any potential threat to organizational security; that said, it’s no surprise that the network team is spending more time on security initiatives today, than in years past (82%). In fact, security is also the top area of primary responsibility for network professionals this year. This time is spent evaluating security products and services and recommending/selecting network security vendors.

Network professionals are not only evolving in their ability to effectively manage the data center and infrastructure but they’re proving to be essential to business strategy. They’re stepping up to navigate through digital disruption and making key business decisions on emerging technology. Network teams are joining forces with IT and LOB to build high-functioning and fortified organizations that can keep up with digital transformation.

To learn more about how network professionals are shaping IT, download the State of the Network Executive Summary.


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