How long can old school IT survive in our new digitally transformed world? Probably not very long. If there is a battle cry for the New IT, it is most likely automation. If your IT people can’t automate, their relevance will depreciate, and they may soon be looking at some pasture time.
Budgets remain constant, but the scope of everything we rely on IT to accomplish in the new digital economy is skyrocketing. Automation is the secret sauce that gives us so much more than multi-threaded capabilities as IT people. Here are just a few of the reasons why automation should be our new mantra in IT:
- Security: Automation removes human hands that can accidently expose your business.
- Speed: You might type fast, but computers type faster, especially with automated processes.
- Policy: Automation follows rules. You can micro manage without hurting its feelings!
- Scalability: Automation lets you do it for one, do it for all…repeatedly.
- Job satisfaction: Building automation keeps work interesting and gives you the space to move onto the next challenge.
Are you a technical old school IT guy, a vendor manager, or are you New IT?
Part of running a great technical team is making sure that they are not only on the cutting edge of what technology has to offer but that they are pushing the boundaries. IT groups have expanding and specialized roles across the board with technology. But there are three common roles that I would like to highlight here. but for the point of this written thought, there are the following three categories I want to bring up. Which roles do you think you fall under and which do you aspire to?
Technical, old school IT guy
You love tech, you enjoy figuring things out. Logic is in your bones and always has been. You are fantastic at troubleshooting and working through problems. You can probably troubleshoot or figure out new software without looking at the manual because it just makes sense. In fact, technology may often make more sense to you than humans do.
Command line and GUIs enable you to get done whatever you need. There is one problem with this. There is only one of you. You may even be the go-to IT guy at your company. But you can only do so much because you are single threaded and spread thin.
Since we don’t have a lot of you at each organization, we have solved some of this by hiring people from the next category: vendor managers.
You are project drivers with a background in general IT. This means you have a ton of vendors you oversee. You probably have too many projects you are leading to get into the technical weeds. This means, when something needs to get done, you are all over managing the project. You have the relationships and the contacts in place to reach out to someone to help you get the problem solved.
Relationships, reporting, communication are your tools to accomplish tasks and it is amazing how much you can get done across such a large set of technologies. You are still functioning single threaded. There is only one of you and that only gets you so far. Which leads us to the next role: New IT.
New IT started years ago. Organizations that already have you on board saw the winds of change and started investing and trusting this new IT crowd to do something better. It is not only about your ability to get things up and running. It is about getting it running and writing it down in a script, so you don’t have to do it again. Then you move on to the next interesting thing and so on.
Scripting, automation and development are your real tools. Because you are now multi-threaded, you can do the job once and develop a solution, so you can move on quickly to the next urgent need. You are super human, because you run the machines. You make the machines do your work.
Automation is the mew IT
We still require smart and passionate people to build it. Someone needs to tell the machines what needs to be done. Super human, script enabled, multi-threaded new IT is going to make your speed of business successful. Machines are growing faster than people so you better figure out how to make your IT guys be new IT. It’s good for you and it’s good for them.
Particularly in the world of machine identity management where I reside, machines are being created and spinning up and down in milliseconds. If you are not using automation to ensure these machines have strong identities, you may well be setting yourself up for a world of trouble. Not to mention that it’s virtually impossible to use manual processes to make these machine identities available to the security ecosystem on demand.
If I am not enabling my team-mates to be new IT, I am doing both my current company and their future companies a disservice. We will all quickly find ourselves as deprecated IT workers if we don’t adapt and become new IT.