If you are like me you have spent your life in IT. I started in desktop support, spent some time on a help desk, and then moved back into level 2 desktop support (I can’t remember the difference between level 1 and level 2 desktop support, I still spent a lot of time crawling about and plugging cables in). From there I took my fist sip at the infrastructure cup and spent time in a server team, racking and stacking. I then went back into the help desk world and managed a team before moving into a data centre and spending my life completing server builds, working on automation projects, data centre management and builds, networking and design.
It’s a long list and I’m sure yours is similar but why bother with it at all? Well throughout this time I saw ASP to and fro, I built a lot of web servers for application web “e-projects”, I saw outsources come and go, services were proposed on site and off site and I was convinced we had the data centre of the future. Yes during this time things were changing, processes were becoming slicker, application developers were becoming more sophisticated (I should clarify – Not in the sense that they stated wearing shoes to the office – just their programming skills) and capacity, in what we could do and what the programme, hardware or network would let us do was growing fast. However through all that I was sure we had it licked Moore’s Law was in operation and we were taking full advantage of it.
In fact I still look back at those times and think I did good work and the teams I was part of helped the businesses we worked for grow, be more productive and transform. And that for me this is the crux of the point I am trying to make, businesses do transform, it happens all the time. Not all get caught up in the Innovators Dilemma, a GFC crash or a failed investment. A lot grow fast; spin off in random directions and pioneer new industries. However to do this today in an age where information moves fast, in fact where information is instant requires an agility a traditional environment cannot provide.
For a very simple example let’s take two IT executives that are required to roll out a new CRM system; the assumption is that their business has identified this need to help them reach new markets. Meetings are held due diligence is completed and a project team is set up to identify the business requirements. Once identified team one brings in a global software provider, partners with a large technology provider and starts the process of developing the application and planning the roll out. Team two picks a SaaS vendor and starts. In this instance it is assumed that the SaaS vendor has a product that meets the business requirements identified during phase one of the project. Is it that simple; well yes it is. Both teams have completed the correct amount of due diligence to identify the business requirements and select an application vendor, however team two does not have to build and roll out any infrastructure or mange the application, it just happens. This means team two is delivering on the business outcome much faster than team one, enabling a competitive edge.
Okay now I can hear the outcries because you are an IT guy like me with an IT history like mine. What about security, what about data protection what about lock in? Well you know what, the business outcome has been met, the business is productive, competitive and happy.
I say job done and I say move out the way IT.
Brett Winterford of itnews published an interesting article titled Death of the SysAdmin with the following video clip of Fortescue Metals CIO Vito Forte, delivered during his keynote presentation at iTnews’ Executive Summit in Melbourne. I think it summarise this article well.