Don't Overlook all that Surrounds what You do
If you've been in IT for any length of time you will no doubt recognize a few things that seem like universal truths within our industry: things are constantly changing AND things can be quite complex. The technology, the processes, the resources, and the services that keep IT functioning and efficient in providing the needs of the business can seem like a complicated, interwoven web that is constantly in need of care and feeding. It's true. And it's that way on a good day. There are many areas (cloud, systems, networks, storage, applications, security, etc.) that make up the whole of your IT and infrastructure environment. Each of these areas is critical on its own, but together, as a collective, they become much more than the sum of its parts. And the strength of each of these areas is often dependent upon the strength of the areas that surround and adjoin them. That's what I want to talk about this month.
We at Vicom conceptualize and represent everything that we do in a comprehensive graphic that we affectionately call the Cube. It shows the 9 areas (plus the cloud, which overlays everything) that Vicom focuses upon and are listed below in order that they are typically "built out" within an environment and are as follows:
Data Protection & Availability
Below is a copy of our Cube:
The first 5 represent your traditional IT infrastructure—whether it is on premise, colocation or cloud—and we refer to these areas as Vicom 1.0. It has been our legacy, and a significant portion of what we do (and continue to do) for the past 30+ years. The last 4 are areas that surround and adjoin the IT infrastructure and areas in which organizations are looking for our help and guidance. These areas that surround and adjoin the infrastructure bring value, security, availability, performance and recommendations for improvement to we refer to them at Vicom 2.0.
These areas that surround and adjoin the infrastructure would not be effective, efficient, or in some cases, even possible, without the Vicom 1.0 areas being in place, robust, and mature. For example, you can't have a strong security posture if you don't first have a strong infrastructure, and so on.
Now let's get a bit more granular here. Not only are the items that surround and adjoin the infrastructure critical to an IT environments success, but each individual part that surrounds or is adjacent to each other part is also critical to success. What do I mean? Well if you have a very strong and mature environment for your systems or networks, but your storage is lacking, how successful will your environment be? If you implement a strong infrastructure layer (systems, network, and storage), but a weak virtualization strategy, again, how successful will your environment be? I would opine, not so much. My message here is make sure that each section or area within your environment is strong and mature on its own. If not, it will be the weak link. And you know how that saying goes…
For your entire environment to be successful, each individual part must be successful. Without that the whole cannot be successful. It's just that simple. So, bring focus to each area to improve and make sure that it meets expectations. If you set success goals and criteria for each area and meet and achieve them, then the whole will succeed and flourish. Now is what I say easy to do? No, unfortunately not. Within in smaller firms there might be a few (or even 1 person) people responsible for all areas of the Cube areas I mention above. In larger firms, there are entire departments responsible for each section of the Cube, and then some. And the people/departments for each area can and often do have their own agendas, that at times may not be well reflective of the whole.
That's why it takes strong leadership to be successful. Each department or people responsible for each area are, naturally, concerned with that one area and generally only that one area--which of course makes sense, as that's their jobs. That is what they are being paid to do. But how their area and responsibilities affect the other surrounding and adjoining areas is also critically important and not always something they think of or concerns themselves with. That's where strong leadership comes in: to make sure each of the parts/departments/areas add up and work together to make the whole successful. Can there be, and is there, overlap in terms of responsibilities within these areas? You bet. That complicates it even further and just widens the rabbit hole.
For a truly successful IT environment, all areas must be considered, including the areas that surround and adjoin the other area to make sure that they complement and augment each other. A bit mind-bending in one way, but so simplistic and common sense in the other--how's that for a paradox? If the areas that surround and adjoin each area do not compliment, augment, and drive value, then it must be addressed and resolved. And they must be resolved before you invest and move heavily into other areas.
I feel like this one was a deep one this month, but yet so important. That's why all that surrounds and adjoins what you do is just as important as what you do. In order for you to have a strong data protection or management environment and strategy, you must have a strong infrastructure environment. A strong security environment needs a strong infrastructure and/or cloud environment. And consulting can absolutely be of value, but only if you have foundation to surround it. I could keep going. Otherwise you are looking at a weak link, which is unacceptable in what we do in in IT. That's why you should be concerned with what surrounds and adjoins all the IT areas you have in place. Being concerned is OK, as it gives you an opportunity to continually improve. That way you'll always be surrounded and adjoined by value.
Until next month.