This month I want to discuss something that is near and dear to everyone's heart in the IT world: Infrastructure. Everyone needs Infrastructure in some form or another but I believe at times it gets treated unfairly. Now in full disclosure, within my organization I have overall responsibility for sales of services. Now, one would imagine with my responsibility being services that I wouldn't care so much for IT infrastructure. But you would be wrong. Infrastructure still matters. A lot.
As we all know, the IT Infrastructure (noticed I capitalized the "I" to give it the respect it deserves) is the foundation of any IT environment. The servers, storage, networking, and supporting software—and don’t forget good partners to help you implement, manage and support it—are the backbone that allows us all to run our organizations, especially so since IT Infrastructure is so critical to and runs so many facets of our organizations. But I believe because it's become so ubiquitous within organizations that it often gets taken for granted. And because it gets taken for granted, it gets perceived as commoditized.
Notice I said above as "perceived as commoditized". Because every organization needs the ability to utilize Infrastructure—be it on premise or through the Cloud, which is where it is increasingly going—its function and role is necessary to the success of any organization. Be it running key critical business applications and software, providing access to and protection for critical data, and provide network capabilities to bring it all together. Without what I mention above most businesses would not be able to function today. And that's all because of IT infrastructure.
So it still very much matters and that perception of commoditization is not always justified, nor fair. Because you can purchase technology quickly and cheaply—or with a simple subscription in the Cloud, which is still Infrastructure, just not yours—it's understandable that it can be perceived as such. But given how much we need and how much faith we place in our IT infrastructures to make our businesses successful, is that right to perceive it as such? Since Infrastructure is essentially a collection of tools that help you perform business functions needed to make your businesses successful (or even exist, one could argue), it deserves our respect and admiration, even if it's begrudgingly.
Also, let's not forget the ecosystem that you have in place to ensure that your Infrastructure is successful. That would be your team of resources that run your Infrastructure who tend to make it look very easy (it's really not, there's a lot to it as we all know) as well as your partners that help you fill in the gaps when needed for implementation, support, management, etc., or whatever function needed. That's the power of an outside partner ecosystem: they can be used to help you in any way you need and be an extension of your internal team. And we see today that a lot of organizations are increasingly using partners to manage and support their infrastructures, and let their internal people focus upon strategic initiatives versus day to day operations.
The takeaway here is that Infrastructure in all forms is still as relevant (perhaps even more so today) to our businesses as it has always been. Just because we've all become much more efficient in managing our Infrastructure does not take away or reduce its importance or need. It will continue help to drive success within businesses and within business operations. So let's give Infrastructure the status it deserves, as without it how we run and operate our businesses would be radically different. So does Infrastructure still matter? Absolutely, in all of its forms.