A faster, more iterative development process, with more features, fewer bugs and quicker competition, is a welcome change for almost everyone – except IT departments scrambling to support Yet Another Moving Target. That’s the problem Firefox ran into early this year, when it switched to a release early, release often development cycle in part to better compete with Google Chrome. In June, Mozilla’s director of browser Asa Dotzler went so far as to comment on June 23 that “enterprise has never been (and I’ll argue, shouldn’t be) a focus of [Mozilla]”. Microsoft jumped at the opportunity to promote its longer-term commitment to IE support.
Well, less than a month later Mozilla, while widely praised for its bold move in the press, showed signs of contrition: It re-established the Mozilla Enterprise User Working Group, a private forum to gauge concerns and address the needs of IT professionals and departments, while acknowledging the very real needs to test and lock down work environments.
There was a similar about-face from Apple recently when the company introduced its Volume Purchasing Program, which allowed IT managers (or any corporate honchos) to centrally manage and distribute application redemption codes while getting bulk-purchase and customer-order discounts. The inability to bulk-order custom or even off-the-shelf apps was long a sore point for IT administrators, even as they were unable to stem the tide of incoming iDevices. Continued »
IT has become a bit of a shape-shifter, and analysts and IT pros alike are trying to figure out what shape it’ll take next. From Christina Torode’s look into the hybrid future of IT to Scot Peterson’s tip for staying relevant as IT transforms, the question doesn’t seem to be will IT change? but rather how will IT change and how do I keep up?
Torode has a great outline, based on Gartner’s predictions, of how IT can be expected to transform. She cites the enterprise’s search for an “on-demand service experience” as a reason for IT acting like external cloud providers, becoming like an internal cloud itself. Gartner also predicts that IT will take hold of services – its own and those provided by third parties – becoming a sort of “services broker.” Who better to dictate “which applications and data make sense in-house or with a cloud provider, and how to vet the providers on behalf of the business” than those with the most insight as to how each system is comprised.
Among some of Torode’s other insights into the future are more focus on applications and infrastructure, less focus on code creation; temporary projects – big and small – housed and later removed from the cloud; brick-and-mortar workspaces will become as virtual as a company’s data center.
In the end, while the skills most sought after in IT will change, the ability to think one step ahead of the technology will be as necessary as ever. Good old hard work and due diligence will always have their place, especially in such a hands-on, trial-and-error industry as IT.
What are your own predictions – good or bad – for IT, and how do you plan to stay ahead of the game? Let us know in the comments section or email me directly.
I remember very clearly the first and only time I’ve met Mike Lazaridis, founder and co-CEO of Research In Motion (RIM). It was in 2008, with the iPhone still being a relatively new phenomena and RIM’s occasional mass outages – which made BlackBerry e-mail inaccessible for a matter of minutes or hours – were headline news.
Cisco Live was quite the event (check out our full Cisco Live! guide for a quick look back), and with 15,000 attendees in person and 40,000 watching virtually, it certainly felt like everyone with any interest in the company or its technology was there. But if you weren’t able to make it out to Vegas (or attend every session you wanted), a lot of the material presented live is now available from Cisco Live Virtual, including a lot of video, briefing decks, tutorials and more. Cisco even included the keynotes, including the flashmob opening featuring dozens of Cisco employees (see after the jump for a preview).
Does increased efficiency mean job loss? If you work in one of the 800 data centers that the US government plans to shut down within the next four years, then yes. The plan is part of the Obama administration’s initiative to cut the budget, particularly the approximately $80 billion dollar annual technology budget. What does the government hope to accomplish by shutting down almost half of its 2,000 data centers? Save billions of dollars. But don’t blame politicians for this one, the way Steve Lohr of the New York Times sees it, the government’s just taking a page out of the enterprise’s book:
Cloud storage has become a sort of an “it works until it doesn’t” industry, especially this past year’s continuous hits for cloud computing.
So it may seem like a joke that a cloud storage provider would promise 100% uptime. That’s exactly what Natick-based Nasuni did Monday, becoming one of the first cloud storage provider to do so.
Michael Ryan over at IBM Systems Magazine has an interesting piece up, provocatively titled Should You Rent or Own Your Employees? Rented employees, as it were, include independent contractors and consultants, with “owned” employees being traditional, W-2’d salaried workers for the company in question.
There’s a lot of benefits from jumping from salaried IT to being independent: Robin Miller interviewed Frank Sfalanga Jr. about how he got up and running in the field. Ryan takes a look at the issue from the other side: Should IT managers hire full-time or temporary staff? “Renting” employees, he wrote, are ideal in situations where specialized expertise is needed, for example, or if there was a one-time task at hand.
Reading through his piece, the pros and cons seemed to line up with another hot phenomenon: Cloud Computing. Just as with hiring full-time versus contracted work, it generally makes sense to keep your company’s core competency in-house, while strategically outsourcing non-business drivers, like which e-mail you use or your CRM software.
The risks are also paralleled: With full-time employees, you risk incurring large, long-term expenses that don’t necessarily scale up or down with the business. With contractors, you raise a host of new security concerns.
So where do you see your departments looking at the latest wave of employee-as-a-service? And where is important to keep the skills in house? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
It seems the only people that are one hundred percent for the cloud are cloud vendors: storage, services, security, you name it. But the people who actually have to sign off their data to the cloud? Well, some of them are still pretty skeptical.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some IT professionals who can see the pros in services such as cloud storage. BigKat’s Internet service provider (ISP) offers a cloud-based backup for his personal computers. The service includes encryption and supports sending very large files via email.
ErroneousGiant doesn’t trust the ISP’s encryption offering, and suggests encrypting the data yourself then allowing the ISP to encrypt your encrypted data. He suggests Sophos for business and home encryption. He uses a cloud system for car insurance documents and encrypts them before uploading them to the cloud. Between that and his cloud photo storage for his Windows Phone 7, ErroneousGiant is all set with cloud storage services.
One step up from personal cloud storage use? Small- and medium-sized businesses in the cloud. And according to a recent report from AMI Partners entitled “US SMB Playbook,” hosted storage is on the rise with about an 11 percent increase expected annually until 2015.
What are your expectations for cloud storage in your neck of the enterprise in the coming four years? Do you think reports such as this reflect a majority or a skewed vision of the cloud’s capabilities in business?
We’d love to hear from you in the comments section or directly at Melanie@ITKnowledgeExchange.com.
To be clear, this is not a formal review of the Cisco Cius. Cisco’s very hesitant to hand out review units, I’ve been told, since the experience is so tied into the company’s rather nice (and rather nicely upgraded) communications software and hardware. Fortunately, I’ve had three chances to get some hands-on time with the Cius while here at Cisco Live! and previously at Interop. I had a few observations I thought might be helpful.
IT departments are, for many intents and purposes, a fairly conservative group. Yes, they love their gadgets, pushing hardware to the limit and playing around on the bleeding edge – but not when it comes to anything that actually matters for their job. And for good reason: I’ve seen too many user-generated train wrecks in almost every facet of IT when eager young guns or generally savvy amateurs try to do it themselves.
So the big news of Cisco’s upgraded Catalyst 6500 should not have been that big a surprise, but it sure felt like a letdown. Last year, we got Cisco announcing they were blazing tracks into a brand new area for them – the tablet! – and this year, all we get it a refresh to a 12-year-old product. So can the humble tech press, myself included, be forgiven for highlighting “new” features like “IPv4 and IPv6 support” support, even those Catalyst 6500 has supported that for years? I hope so, because it’s an important and impressive product with an interesting strategy (“most” of the new features and capabilities being offered do not even require a full upgrade). And more importantly, it highlights Cisco’s new-found strategy: Retreat to move forward. Continued »