IT departments to strive for greater efficiency as budgets tighten in 2015

IT departments will be looking to up their efficiency levels in 2015 and get better value from their IT budget, according to the latest research which has been revealed by Brocade at IP EXPO 2014.

Related: IP EXPO Europe 2014: Live coverage, photos and analysis

The survey was carried out by Redshift Research last month, and questioned 200 senior IT decision makers in the UK, finding that increased efficiency was the top priority for 53 per cent of them.

Only 31 per cent expected their IT budget to increase in 2015 (less than we've seen in previous reports), so cost savings would seem to be the main driver behind the quest for more efficient running.

On the whole, respondents weren't confident about their existing network infrastructure and its ability to manage the demands placed on it over the next year – but doing something about that is obviously an issue given flat or decreasing IT budgets. While 33 per cent of respondents said they were prioritising infrastructure improvements to support business growth in 2015, 32 per cent are simply keeping their existing infrastructure going as is throughout next year.

Looking to the future, there is a desire to change and adopt new approaches to networking, with 40 per cent saying they intend to deploy Software Defined Networking (SDN) within the next five years (and 30 per cent within three years). There were similar stats concerning the adoption of Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV), with 34 per cent and 27 per cent for five and three years respectively.

Related: C-level executives wrest control of tech budgets from IT departments

These technologies still confuse some IT leaders, though, and indeed 37 per cent admitted they didn't fully understand SDN, with 45 per cent saying the same about NFV.

Marcus Jewell, EMEA vice president, Brocade, commented: "It is clear from this research that IT departments are under growing pressure to do more with less. With the majority of network architectures predating today's most influential technologies – from cloud services to mobile computing – it is not surprising that many organisations simply do not have the infrastructure they need to support the business effectively."

Jewell added that "more education is needed if SDN and NFV are to truly realise a new kind of IP network that is better aligned with the evolution of the rest of IT."

Other nuggets of info the survey uncovered include an admittance that the cloud is likely to have the biggest impact on businesses in the next year – with 63 per cent saying this was the case. 3D printing was cited by 20 per cent in this respect, and server virtualisation and big data were tied on 19 per cent.