have you read Hit Refresh by Satya Nadella? You should definitely do! Satya tells an extremely inspiring story about individual change, Microsoft’s transformation and the technology that will impact our lives in the future. It inspired me to rethink my role in technology and to write this article about my #hitrefresh moment.In the past decades IT consultancy was characterized by contractors implementing multi-tier applications or upgrading them to newer versions within the scope of software and hardware lifecycle processes. It was not advice the customer has been looking for but fulfilment of specification books. About ten years ago, virtualization technology became state-of-the-art and so multi-tier applications were no longer installed on hardware but on virtual machines. Since then, hardware could be used in a more efficient way as several VMs could be run on the same physical machine, nevertheless, IT consultants were still the ones to do the migration and implementation work.
At any point in time, things started to change dramatically. Some years ago I wrote an article in German about modern workplace and how people should collaborate in a modern world. I hypothesized that our digital natives, those kids and students who grew up with modern technology, who have adopted modern work methods and tools in their youth, I predicted that they would only accept and adopt established enterprise processes and tools after their educations if those processes and tools would not prevent them from being as productive as they are with the tools they use in their private lives. If an enterprise could or did not provide such tools, though, applicants would either turn away and chose companies that had established processes that functionally align with their real life experience, or those applications employees used in their private lives would be used within enterprise scope as well without being managed or monitored by IT departments. The first trend leads to a competitive disadvantage because professionals turn away, the second brings a shadow IT that supports data leakage and that compromises IT security.
Nowadays, after having talked to many and many customers, IT managers, and owners I know that I was right with my assumption and that lots of companies from small to enterprise sizes have already faced either one or even both of those trends. Beyond that, IT infrastructure as a self purpose has completed its service. Today, IT projects are no longer driven by the IT department; it is specialty departments and business needs that ask for change in tools and processes. IT departments that have not adapted to this trend will continue to face shadow IT – not necessarily established by individual employees but driven by specialty departments with their own business needs.
By 2020, clouds will stop being referred to as “public” and “private,” and ultimately they will stop being called clouds altogether. It is simply the new way business is done and IT is provisioned.
This quotation, taken from the IDC Market Spotlight from April 2015, brings it down to one point: there won’t be a way around, and thus, personal, individual change will be inevitable. There won’t be infrastructure admins that manage and support Exchange servers in their datacenters; consultants who fulfill specification books will become obsolete. What companies need are process managers; IT departments that understand business needs and that can assist specialty departments in implementing new technologies. Consultants will become advisors who support both, specialty and IT departments on their journeys.
For me, my Data One journey is going to end at the end of February. Retrospectively, I can say that I had some great six years working for a great company. I’ve met amazing customers and partners and I have worked alongside of awesome colleagues; I have even made some friends. But now it’s time for me to move on, to start a new trip – and I’m really excited and looking forward to what’s next to come in my new role as a Lead Consultant for Microsoft Azure. I won’t change my dedication, I will stay an advisor. But, yet, individual change is inevitable and so I #hitrefresh!