IT Admins must consolidate tools and consider outsourcing - Image by Hany Sadek from PixabayTwice a year, JumpCloud conducts a survey examining the top concerns of IT admins within SME organisations. It has now published the findings from a survey conducted in Q2 within an eBook. The eBook is titled “Flexibility and Ingenuity: What’s Powering Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise IT Management in 2023.

The twenty-three-page report begins with an executive summary and is split into three main sections.

  • The SME Landscape
  • Security and SMEs
  • MSPs and SMEs
  • Final Thoughts – a conclusion

The authors display the survey data in a mix of bar and pie charts with mainly descriptive tests and limited data analysis. The results are based on a survey of 1,221 US, UK, and France admins. With around 400 respondents in the UK, it isn’t clear whether the sample was equally split.

While concerns from organisations have shifted from lockdowns and supply chain shortages to concerns about a recession and layoffs, IT administrators remain concerned about security. Identity management remains a critical component of any organisation’s tech stack. Also, with a trend towards cloud away from closed legacy solutions, IT admins are seeking a more open model that enables interoperability between systems and simpler management.

While the press release provided by JumpCloud focused on the statistics from the UK, the full report sadly does not break down responses by country.

The SME Landscape

IT budgets are increasing, with 79.5% seeing an increased budget over the last year and 63.5% expecting a further increase in the coming six months. However, while budgets have increased, 77.4% expect further layoffs.

The report looks at the impact of employees on decisions from where they work. 47% are back working in the office full time now. Notably, 84.1% of respondents agree or strongly agree that employee experience impacts IT Purchasing decisions. The report, like others, fails to dig further into this with no trending information, nor is that a qualitative viewpoint.

Some trending information is available on whether IT admins are happier now. 56.8% of respondents are, despite 48.1% feeling somewhat overwhelmed and 16.4% very overwhelmed by their responsibilities and expectations. However, this may be because over 50% have reduced their workload to achieve a better work-life balance.

To help them, IT admins will naturally turn to technology. However, many prefer a single tool over the many they already use—only 15.1% use less than 3 tools.

Security and SMEs

Security is still the biggest concern. Despite the investment, 49.2% of respondents agree or strongly agree that they are more concerned about their organisation’s security posture than 6 months ago. However, budgets are increasing; although concerns exist, further investment may lead to further complexity. Only 35.5% have deployed SSO technology across their organisation.

Password management is still an issue, with 26% not having deployed it and 9.6% looking to deploy within 12 months. The survey also looked at the devices in use by organisations.

MSPs and SMEs

The third section looks at the users of MSPs. In the UK, 57% use MSPs to an extent. That number in the US is 79%, and the global average is 69%. However, 30% are considering the use of MSPs.

The report looks at the top reasons for outsourcing, noting:

  • MSPs are considered up to date with the latest technologies – 61%
  • MSPs provide a better user experience – 55%
  • MSPs are cost effective – 50%
  • MSPs are better at securing users’ access and identity – 41%
  • MSPs offer strong customer support

MSPs are mostly used for security and cloud storage (53%). Despite this, many have concerns about how MSPs manage security.

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

Some interesting statistics within this report concludes with:

  • Listen and let IT lead on spending, especially on security
  • Accommodate diverse device environments. These are not disappearing
  • Consolidate tools. There are too many in use
  • Optimise operations with an MSP. As the squeeze on headcount increases, this might be the only way to achieve a secure enterprise

There are some differences with the UK figures, but the report does not highlight these, nor where the French respondents stand. This would have been an interesting comparison.

Commenting on the UK findings, Denis Dorval, VP International (EMEA & APAC), JumpCloud, said, “UK admins are less satisfied than their global counterparts, even though they are working less overtime and are less likely to report feeling overwhelmed. This implies that it is the nature, not the volume, of work that is getting them down. Adoption of MSPs in the UK is also less mature than in other regions, meaning UK-based admins are bearing responsibility for a greater proportion of routine tasks, in-house. This may be contributing to job dissatisfaction; it isn’t surprising that 30% of UK respondents are considering engaging an MSP.

“However, with lower-than-average budget expectations for the second half of 2023, there is no guarantee that UK admins will be able to get satisfaction in the near term. This could lead to employee churn, as admins seek more fulfilling roles in other businesses – a key disruptive risk for organisations. In this scenario, it is worth exploring where technology investment could relieve the admin burden, reduce frustration, and retain talent.”

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