First of all, Happy New Year! 2010 was a great year for ServiceMesh — we had huge revenue growth while maintaining our profitability once again. We’re ready and looking forward to continued growth and success in 2011.
Over the holiday break, I had some time to think about tradition. Are the end of the year, we observe many traditions, from intimate family traditions to larger social and cultural traditions. We’re hanging wreaths and decorating our houses. We’re sending cards and giving presents. We’re making (way too many) sweet treats and singing songs. Overall, the celebration of holidays and the observance of traditions is good. Traditions bind us together as a world, a nation, a city, and a family. In some cases, though, the reason for our traditions has been lost. We observe them without knowing where they started or what they mean. Quick, can anybody tell me why Americans decorate Christmas trees? If you’re stumped, maybe you should read up on it.
Unfortunately, we get the same way with a lot of our IT “traditions.” There are processes that we implemented a long time ago, and we can no longer remember the reasons that drove their development. We do things habitually, because, well, that’s what we have always done and it’s easier to go with the flow than to do the hard task of thinking about change. We build applications and systems the same way we have always done it. We have the same processes and exception sign-offs we always had. The problem is, the world is changing, and many of these old work habits will no longer apply. As people and organizations, we risk being run over by the relentless advancement of technology unless we can get a grip on what is required in the new world.
I came in this morning and read an article by Roger Grimes at InfoWorld, “Your tech career depends on preparing for the cloud.” In the article, Roger is sounding the alarm: if you work in IT, you need to step back and embrace the cloud in your thinking, because the world is moving this direction. Roger is right. This is such a sweeping change to the technology landscape that everybody will be affected, whether you work with application development, server administration, networks, security, or even desktop support. Some roles will change more than others, but understand that change is coming to everybody.
At ServiceMesh, our raison d’etre is to help large enterprises adopt Agile IT and cloud computing. When we work with our clients, we focus on more than just implementing pieces of technology. We also help them take a step back and review their existing processes. We don’t want to use 1990′s process with 2011 cloud technology. It just doesn’t work. One company, for instance, had implemented virtualization for all new server workloads, but they were still using a paper-based requisition process for virtual machines that was originally designed for physical servers. Sure, they had shortened their server provisioning time from months down to a week or two (which was great, by the way), but that was mostly because they no longer had to order physical servers. In the world of Agile IT, users should be able to self-provision a server conforming to standard policies in minutes. Old workflows need to be scrapped or reworked to deal with the advancements delivered by Agile IT.
So, in 2011, make sure that one of your professional New Years resolutions is to embrace the cloud and review your people and processes to determine if you’re structured for future success or blindly following traditions that no longer make sense.
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