Becoming Good at the NEW IT

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. -Alvin Toffler

Over the past 3 years I have begun to see a shift in the way customers are planning, selecting and deploying technology capabilities to their users. The range of choice has expanded at every level; in devices, applications, methods of computing, potential partners and ownership. A ‘one-size fits all’ technology strategy is moving to one in which it’s now ‘any size that you like’. IT can now deliver many more capabilities; dependence on ‘cost-only’ business cases will encourage IT leaders to keep the legacy alive.

Our EUC team is focused on helping our customers identify their desired outcome, assess the legacy IT, document and present it to leadership in meaningful terms. This provides the best starting point to decide whether the investment is worth pursuing for the value planned to obtain.

Device or App ?

More and more our society craves technology. Users want one thing to over simplify the root issue: end user computing power. That is what IT should provide them. They need not worry about how or where that computing power is delivered to them, it just is. Like any time tested utility model, let them turn on the faucet and fill their cup, bottle, Camelpak, etc. Trouble them not about the maintenance of the filtration, or pipes, or any of the other ancillary issues. Insure that each and every time turn it on or open the bottle, water is there, and it is the job of IT, not the user, to engineer this solution in such a way to deliver on that promise.

The NEW IT, whether you call it ‘BYO’, ‘Cloud’ or something else, needs a different approach when determining value. Fiscal responsibility continues to matter of course, but much of what we are delivering now is evolving or new and therefore must be balanced against the value. Rapid acceptance of mobile devices and applications has accelerated IT’s world requiring faster response and ability to scale.

It is important for IT to invest (and re-invest) to gain benefits from true EUC solutions, – otherwise organizations struggle to embrace the next generation workspaces that can drive productivity, change how users operate or access applications on new devices from anywhere. Humans love to be creatures of habit and change can be very difficult for us. The pride and satisfaction of truly improving the user experience by listening and learning something long enough to become good at it is competing with all forms of legacy IT, and today legacy IT still is winning.

Actual skills and knowledge tend to take the back seat these days. Real world skills are losing out to Google, and knowledge is losing out to systems thought to have been built to last. Legacy IT knowledge, although critical for migration to next generation workspaces, will likely not impress your colleagues or land you a job, let alone make a blip on the radar when you look back on your career.

Getting Good Again

Let’s set aside the broader societal points for a minute. What everyone else does might be interesting or cool, but we can only really change our own behavior. Most of IT departments could use more time for doing and less for maintaining. Acquiring new skills, embarking on interesting projects and doing adventurous things requires you get good at putting in the effort it takes to actually do those things.

Many IT professionals believe they must become “experts” in any technology that is in their world. I’m a fan of relative expertise. Most technology does not require customers to be the world’s principal expert to benefit from what you know. Knowing enough or being good enough to accomplish your goals, however modest or grand they may be is able to be achieved with relative expertise.

Think about how many things you’ve really put effort towards over the past year. What I mean by “effort” is not reading 19 articles about it or watching a vlog on the subject. I’m referring to real learning, real doing, taking classes, practicing and asking someone like us who knows more about it for help.

How much of that level of effort have you put in?

If you’re lacking some of the abilities to achieve your preferred state, I’ll speculate that you haven’t really put much effort in. Or, maybe you put some decent effort in, but you’ve been bouncing around from one project to another or from one method to another without seeing results.

In either case, there’s a way to achieve your desired outcome.

You can learn to do practically anything you want to; it’s just a matter of deciding what you want, focusing, putting in the time and getting serious about measuring your progress. It might also involve cutting out a little Google time, but I bet you were getting tired of those cat videos anyway.

I’m not saying I’m an absolute expert in any of those things, but I’m expert enough to have used those skills and knowledge to dramatically impact our customer’s ability to achieve the value promised by the IT solutions we provide.

In 2006 my journey all started with a conversation I had with my boss about the experience we were delivering vs. the experience we wanted to deliver.

I took a step back and thought about how I wanted to spend my time, what I wanted to enable the business to do, and how I could look back on my career and say, “I made a difference for the organization.”

Had that conversation with yourself yet?

If so, what are you doing to make it happen? If not, what are you waiting for?

Source References: 1)Expert Enough 2)VMware 3)Wikipedia