Our world of IT is dynamic, complex, always changing and convoluted. And that's just what happened today. In all seriousness, I believe one of the reasons we all chose the IT profession (in whatever capacity we are in), is actually because of those reasons. People that are looking for uneventful days or careers generally don't choose IT. Nor would I recommend it to them. So much changes in what we do: new technologies to be evaluated and implemented quickly, many different types of technologies and environments to support, best practices changing where accepted practices from the past might be frowned upon now, and on top of that IT departments are tasked not with just supporting IT, but helping the organizations they serve make money with said IT. That's a lot put on the plate of IT.
Considering all of the items I listed above (and the many others I didn't) how can you be sure that you are doing the right thing by IT and your organization? And for those that think that have it all absolutely figured out: it's never as good as you think it is. What do I mean? How could it be?
With new technologies and ways of doing things always on the Horizon within IT, how can you be sure you are doing it right? I feel one of the most important things that we do is the remain prudent about what we do. No left turns. Don't abandon the tried and true methods of using IT in terms of technologies, software and services. Evaluate new technologies for your organization but be careful of moving too far out there too quickly.
I'll give an example of our company. We are a 34 old IT solution and solutions provider that evolved smartly. We started selling what organizations needed on the desktop environment, which evolved into the servers and networks for the datacenter environment, which evolved into driving efficiencies through servers and storage consolidation, followed by virtualization, which led to further consolidation, which led to Cloud, which then was followed by efficiencies through operational management of data center environments, which was followed helping provide security solutions to help environments be more secure. All of these were natural and prudent progressions from the previous and made sense. As I said before: no left turns.
The same principle applies with how you should evaluate, implement, support and staff your IT environments. Evolve and evaluate smartly as you move forward. We've seen it time and time again throughout the years where an organization makes a radical decision to move from one platform to another (technology or software) that was such departure from what they were doing that we at times were left shaking our heads. And more times than not, we've seen those decisions not work out the way that was expected, as the decision was not made prudently.
They didn’t evaluate everything in detail, including the impact upon the organization, the true cost (not just upfront costs) and the desire and gumption of the organization to move in a new direction. Let me be clear: I am not saying that change is not a good thing, but it just need to be done smartly, that's all. And it's not easy. Otherwise the risk is there of blaming the technology or software, when in reality it was the organization that wasn't ready for it. As I've said, we've seen this many, many times.
So how do you alleviate that? Well of course by doing the best due diligence possible so you understand what where you are looking to go, how much it will cost upfront and over time, how you will support it, how you need to staff it, and how it will help make money and provide value to the organization. No small task here. If you need help, then certainly engage one of your trusted partners to provide you with an outside perspective. They will help to guide you based upon their experiences and what they seen with other organizations is similar situations and there is great value in that. So it's OK to embrace the fact that it's never as good as you think. But you can strive towards it as long as you think prudently and have a plan to get you to the value you need. Until next month…