How Enterprise IT Trends Changed The Workplace

How Enterprise IT Trends Changed The Workplace

Netrepid’s President – A 15-year Veteran Of Technology And Telecommunications – Offers His Insight On How Enterprise IT Trends Have Changed Today’s Workplace

By Sam Coyl, President and CEO

I was asked recently to take a look back at several enterprise IT trends and how they’ve changed the workplace over the past 15 years.

For starters – OF COURSE things have changed. We went from x86 servers and Windows XP to the rise of virtual desktops and cloud computing. Now in addition to the cloud, the IT department has to deal with trends like BYOD and the rise of the smartphone.

Many people in the IT world know that the only constant is change. I’ve said in the past that all of these changes can be overwhelming – doesn’t seem like much of a stretch when you take a look at it, even from a macro level.

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Inspired by this recent article in ars technica – A brief history of disruption: Technologies that upended enterprise IT – below are some of my personal insights on how these technological developments of the past 15 years have impacted three areas of enterprise IT – the economics, IT department capabilities, and the IT/business relationship.

The Economics Of Enterprise IT

economics of enterprise itThe advancements of technology have shifted back to the server-centric approach. There is so much more power in the current server environment that there is no longer a need to distribute processing and data storage to the edge devices. Rather, the model of fortifying the core server technology with redundancy, highly available clusters, etc. gives enterprises the ability to control more of the data and processing and limit the expense on end user devices.

The challenge is the cost associated with this. There is an ever increasing need for memory, storage and network connectivity to accommodate this strategy in-house. As a result, many more enterprises of varying sizes are looking to web-based and cloud-based solutions. This puts the burden of the capital expense and the ongoing operation on the provider (like us here at Netrepid) and limits financial burden to that of an operational expense on the enterprise. Typically, this cost is less than what the hardware lease would have been to bring the services in-house.

This will be an ever increasing movement as technology becomes more and more scalable and core infrastructure needs become more and more hardware intensive.

The Capabilities Of The IT Department

The capabilities of the IT department have changed dramatically. In the mid-1990’s, you could be a one-person generalist with networking, server, and workstation knowledge and do just about everything required for an IT department. Today, there is such a vast range of technologies that require in-depth and focused training that the IT Generalist is dead. It is also not cost effective for enterprises to hire the complete set of manpower required to properly administer the technology.

it department capabilities

More and more companies are running 24-hours a day. They have business-effecting needs that must be addressed and operational 100% of the time. The depth of an IT department is just not practical anymore for most organizations. The introduction of mobile devices, tablets, and other personal devices on the corporate infrastructure make management even more difficult.

All of this combined is driving more and more businesses to look to the web for hosted and cloud based services to meet these needs. This would leave a skeleton crew in the IT department that can take care of strategy, evaluation of new technology, and oversight of the cloud provider.

Relations Between IT And Business

The relationship of technology to all other business units has changed drastically. Traditionally, technology was the red-headed step child that sat under finance for no other reason than it cost a lot to operate. To that end, technology was viewed as this “necessary evil” that had to be there – but no one really wanted it, and most importantly, they didn’t want to pay for it. As such, technology development stalled.

it department necessary evil

Contemporary thinking has forced enterprises to look at technology as an enabling resource.

  • Technology closes the gaps in distant markets and extends the reach of a company’s ability by leveraging web and mobile based technologies.
  • The use of web, hosting, and cloud technologies also extends the ability of a company to expand and not be so dependent on location.

Clients and workforces are much more mobile. Technology is a critical component to that. The web is a marketing tool, email and chat are collaboration tools, SharePoint, DropBox and similar file systems are used for project and team management. Businesses are moving faster and more efficiently with the use of current technology than ever before.

Have you worked in enterprise IT going on 15+ years? How have you seen these areas change over that time? I’d love to hear some additional insights below.