There’s a saying I once heard that goes, “If you don’t like change, you better love irrelevance.” There aren’t many truer sayings than this, and it applies to everything in life. In Information Technology, we live in 18-month cycles, so we are used to learning new things and new ways of doing them. It is not often that I feel the stress of change, but I do today.
It hasn’t been since the 1998-2000 period that we have had as much change going on in I.T. with the potential to affect everyone’s business as we will in the next 18 months. In 1998-2000, we had high-speed Internet, firewalls, Y2K, SMB use of websites, email and other technology all developing rapidly. Novell began its rapid loss of the server market and Microsoft really started taking over.
Today we have Microsoft releasing a refresh for every major product it offers: Office 2013, Windows 8, and Server 2012. The rapid advancement of virtualization has led to “the cloud” and modern application development changes, not to mention all of the new end-point devices, including the Microsoft Surface. We have a “whale to eat” over the next 18 months because, no matter which way the economy goes, companies that are looking to thrive or survive will need to be able to take advantage of these technologies. So, what do you need to be doing?
First, realize and be okay with the fact you can’t do it all on your own. With this many moving parts that affect both I.T. and the user, no one can hope to be able to cover it all. If you don’t already have a team to review and discuss this with, start building one now. This team should include management, users and I.T., whether your I.T. is handled in-house or by a partner. Everyone can, and should, provide input and contribute ideas.
Your team will need to begin discussing what the business needs and what the vision for company growth is. In order to evaluate the backend technologies with them in mind, I.T. needs to hear these ideas. The business members of the team need to understand that with every desired change or advancement comes additional change in how technology has to be setup and secured.
Many people think the cloud is going to make things cheaper, and in many cases, it will. However, there are costs and risks that have to be weighed. With virtualization comes some added risk of consolidating too far. But in the end, I.T. has to find a way to do things more efficiently and quickly so that it can support the goals of the organization.
I have always said I.T. says “NO!” too much when it should be saying, yes and showing you, how. In all of this, education is key. There is a wealth of information for you to consume as you build your plans (websites, publications, data sheets). There are also live events like our Techtartare series. Ask peers what they have done and are doing. Remember, though, just because a vendor says it has the greatest idea or a peer has done something innovative, that doesn’t mean it is right for you.
I have seen many businesses jump on the bandwagon of a technology idea that worked well for one group only to find they were not prepared to actually take advantage of it. This typically happens because of pre-existing I.T. issues or business process changes they were not culturally prepared to embrace. In the end, those businesses that plan now and involve the right people will see the future first and be in the best position to take advantage of it.
What we at Infinity Network Solutions will continue to do is review, test and validate those new technologies so we can contribute to this conversation with you. We will also continue to plan and build events where we can provide education from our experiences and those experts we have access to. We know that eating a whale is no small task, much less when you are making it a speed-eating contest. So, ready your team, review your goals and begin planning now as the next wave of change is only 18 months away.
What do you see as your one largest potential game changers over the next 18 months, and are you ready to take advantage of them? Drop me a line and share your thoughts.