Oct 2, 2017 3:00 AM PT

Few IT departments engage in future planning

A new CompTIA study finds only 34% of businesses plan their IT infrastructure beyond one year.

Thinkstock

It’s an old cliché: If you fail to plan, you better plan to fail. That seems to apply to a new study by CompTIA that finds only 34 percent of businesses surveyed plan their IT infrastructure beyond one year.

The reasons are legitimate: the disruption brought about by the migration to cloud computing and Internet of Things (IoT) deployments. Both are seriously disruptive and can make long-term planning a challenge. To stay flexible to changes as they undergo a digital transformation, businesses are reticent to plan beyond one year out. 

+ Also on Network World: Cost optimization gains ground in IT infrastructure decisions +

The report, titled "Planning a Modern IT Architecture," also found some of the usual problems dogging IT shops. Four in 10 companies said they lacked the budget for heavy investment in new architecture, and one-third said they don’t have the knowledge on emerging technologies and new trends to formulate an integration plan. 

You really have to have your head in the sand to have not heard about cloud computing. 

On the plus side, 36 percent of the respondents said enterprise architectural planning allows for better collaboration between IT and business units. 

“By connecting the construction of IT architecture to overall corporate objectives, both groups will be better informed about the options available and the tradeoffs involved when selecting devices, applications or operational models,” said Seth Robinson, senior director for technology analysis at CompTIA, in a statement. 

IoT plans decline 

In an interesting development, IoT activity declined year over year — and rather significantly, too. The number of firms saying they had no immediate plans for IoT jumped from 15 percent in 2016 to 34 percent in 2017. 

This reflects a phenomenon also seen in the cloud computing market, where initial enthusiasm inflates adoption numbers, but improved understanding brings a reality check. As companies build a better understanding of IoT systems, they recognize that some ongoing efforts do not fit the definition. There is also some uncertainty over just what IoT means to begin with, which is causing the substantial jump of companies reporting they don’t know if there are IoT activities or plans.

Those that are embracing IoT, however, are seeing its benefits. Sixty-one percent of companies report that IoT allows them to extend technology into broader organizational objectives, while just 34 percent say IoT initiatives are standalone activities.

That means IoT can be a driver of digital transformation rather than simply transitioning existing IT operations to new models. More and more companies are digitizing their customary business operations and workflows, the report said. 

The conclusion of the report is that firms must give more serious thought to the ultimate goal for their IT systems and to the path they will take to get there. That means more planning and forethought. Easy to say, but far too many IT shops are running around putting out fires and just trying to maintain what they have. Being able to plan long term and make large scale deployments of new technologies almost seems like a luxury these days.