Research sheds light on changing role of IT admin through cloud

IT administrators in organisations which have migrated to Google Apps or Office 365 argue they spend much less time doing mundane activities – but it’s not exactly ‘put your feet up’ time either.

That’s the key finding from the latest study by BetterCloud on the state of the cloud office. Back in July, the first set of results was revealed, which showed a clear trend for larger organisations to move to Office 365, as opposed to SMEs running Google.

This time around, however, the spotlight focuses on the admins. BetterCloud argues that with cloud offices, tasks such as scheduled and unscheduled maintenance are not as big a factor in the IT admin’s day, with 87% and 86% of respondents respectively agreeing. Less time is also being spent on upgrades (88%), storage and quota management (86%), and data recovery (84%).

So what do admins do instead of these tasks? The report cites a wide variety of strategic and proactive jobs, including improving security, application integrations, and end user training. Not to be forgotten, however, is migrating systems over to the cloud; 67% of Office 365 and 68% of Google Apps admins say their migrations happen in-house.

Equally, there is a clear correlation between the pace of cloud migration and less time admins spend stuck doing routine tasks. For companies currently 100% in the cloud, 94% of admins polled agree they save time, compared with organisations who expect a complete move by 2020 (88%) and by at least 2026 (78%).

A particular ‘eureka’ moment cited in the report is through Office 365 admins who tell their users to run Outlook on the web when issues arise with the desktop client. This “confirm[s] to them that if they can just get their users to work in the cloud, helpdesk tickets will begin to decline,” according to the report.

Overall, however, the report argues cloud IT admins need to prepare themselves for the changes to come, and the potential expansion of the department’s role from the “cost centre” and “department of no” mentality which frequently pervades it.

“Every admin has a different agenda depending on the needs of their organisation, but with more time and less busy work, cloud IT admins have an opportunity to become agents of innovation for their organisation and truly capitalise on their emerging role as leaders,” the report concludes.

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