Implications for the Future

By Michael Vizard Print this article Print

We need to fundamentally rethink our collective approach to enterprise computing.

This has huge implications in terms of reducing the cost of the software needed to manage the data center’s diverse components and the number of people needed to run them.

Given all these advances, the real question of the day is not which technologies will be used to drive down the total cost of enterprise computing, but rather how long it will take to make the cultural changes that are needed to implement these technologies.

The simple truth is that many of these technological advances threaten the jobs of all kinds of specialists in the IT hierarchy. So, understandably, there is a fair amount of resistance to many of the concepts associated with next-generation integrated servers and IT automation.

In better economic times, companies would be content to let these changes occur at an evolutionary pace. But as it becomes clear that the economy is not likely to recover until well into 2011, business executives are going to demand revolutionary changes to their enterprises. Specifically, they are going to demand that IT consume a lot less of the capital budget and that the cost of labor associated with IT drop substantially.

Unfortunately, the traditional response of IT departments in troubled economic times is to circle the wagons. That means they will embrace technologies like virtualization that allow them to increase utilization rates, but will generally resist new technologies that threaten the status quo in terms of the number of people working in IT.

In years past, IT staffs have been able to slow the adoption of certain automation technologies. However, as the economy continues to worsen, the divide between businesspeople and IT people has the potential to grow even wider—unless IT executives act quickly.

Ultimately, that may require making unpopular decisions about what’s best for the business, rather than what’s popular among the people who work for the IT executives. But a day of IT reckoning is coming. So the question is, Will IT executives lead the way in making necessary changes, or will they be reactionary when confronted with the forces of change? As we all know, reactionary forces rarely survive.

This article was originally published on 2009-02-27
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