Some good news on budgets, career development

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Our Network World State of the Network Study gives a fascinating view into where you stand on everything from budget availability to thoughts on the stature of networking and plans for a range of technology options.

Our Network World State of the Network Study gives a fascinating view into where you stand on everything from budget availability to thoughts on the stature of networking and plans for a range of technology options.

Regarding the latter, we looked at everything from data center consolidation efforts to adoption of ITIL/COBIT. Of the options considered, organizations are furthest along with efforts to virtualize and consolidate servers, and show the least interest in/progress toward migrating to IPv6.

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We'll do a deep dive on the tech plans of your peers in a coming issue, but since this research is hot off the press I wanted to share some of the bigger picture findings, starting with a glimpse into budget trends.

When the survey was conducted in July the economy was warming up a bit and we asked if that was translating into good news for IT budgets. Almost a third of the respondents (31%) said yes, they had been given additional funds for specific projects, while the bulk (40%) said their budget hadn't changed. While that is encouraging, another large chunk (29%) said they have had to cut budgets mid-course.

Asked what the extended budget forecast looked like (the next 12 months compared to the last 12), 29% said they expected their budgets to increase, 37% said it would stay the same, and 16% said they were expecting cuts. The balance (18%) said they weren't sure which way it would swing.

Taken together, this is seemingly positive news. But Shvetank Shah, executive director of the Corporate Executive Board's IT Practice, points out the next two to three years are likely to be a grind, with company sales, stock price and capital availability all in flux, which will translate into uncertainty. We're not out of the woods yet.

But one good sign: emerging tech developments are elevating the importance of the network. Key findings:

* Asked if the network must become more intelligent and dynamic to support and capitalize on virtualization, 79% of the respondents strongly agreed or agreed.

* Asked if the adoption of alternative IT models (e.g., cloud computing) is making the strategic value of the network function more critical, 81% strongly agreed or agreed.

*Asked if the role of the network professional has shifted as the network has become/is becoming the enterprise service platform enabling dynamic/agile IT, 68% strongly agreed or agreed.

Network professionals are in a nice position giving the way the industry is headed. Now if we can only stabilize the budget and get to work.

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Now read: Getting grounded in IoT