A successful IT manager must be flexible to stay on top of the new emerging networking technologies. Fast-moving IT trends can sometimes leave IT managers worried that they lack the proper tools to stay ahead of every technology development. Here are some of the "most wanted" items used by today's IT managers.
Better Wi-Fi management
Companies have allowed employees to bring their consumer devices to work. However, this popular BYOD trend means an influx of mobile devices with potentially unfettered access to a company's wireless network. It would make the IT manager's life easier if more "channels" were available in high-traffic locations to reduce the strain on the network.
Wi-Fi networks are difficult to manage because resource-strapped IT administrators do not have a mechanism to regularly monitor intruders or interlopers. What many IT administrators want is a monitoring tool that provides better controls over when, how and by whom their wireless networks are being used.
Mobile device standardisation
Most of the personally owned devices used by employees are mobile: laptops, tablets and smart phones. Security isn't the only problem presented by BYOD. The IT department must also provide technical support for many different devices, running on different platforms, made by different vendors. IT managers would welcome more cooperation and standardisation within the hardware and software industries, which would also ease the learning curve for users and cut the load on help-desk personnel.
Better App management
In today's cost-conscious business world, managers need to be able to assess the business value of all those applications. That means they need in-depth analytics to give them visibility into their application ecosystems.
More organisations are relying on commercial web apps such as Office 365, Google Docs, Salesforce, Skype, Drop Box or Box.net, GoToMeeting, Expensify, and many others. IT managers need an easier way to manage all of these apps in a centralised fashion, as well as monitor the performance and behavior of web-based applications.
You can have all the gadgets, servers and software you need, but you're walking blindly if you have no visibility into what's happening on your network. Comprehensive monitoring of all on-premises and cloud-based services is a must. With today's IT world extending from one to the other, businesses need to know what's happening to their data whether it resides internally or is no longer on their premises.
Better power management
This wish list item is two-pronged. Reducing the power consumption of remaining servers, client desktops and network equipment is still vital, because energy rates are expected to go up as worldwide demand increases in coming years. At the same time, mobile devices are becoming more sophisticated and more capable of replacing desktops for many tasks, but that means they're also growing more power-hungry and their small size makes for short battery life.
The good news is that many of the items on our "most wanted" list are being developed now, with researchers all over the world hard at work to fill these well-known needs. The bad news is that the list will never end because every great new technological development brings new challenges and thus new solutions that IT managers want.
- Sergio Galindo is the general manager of the Infrastructure Business Unit at GFI Software.