Thanksgiving in the U.S. traces its history back to the Puritans who survived disease and hostile attacks from the native North American population long enough to give thanks to Providence before returning to various tasks at hand. Although not faced with the same dire consequences, IT people have, as noted in our list of the Top Ten IT Things to Give Thanks for in 2012, plenty of reasons to give thanks this year, even though they may not feel like they have much in the way of available time to get things done.
All across the IT landscape, the IT people who are lucky enough to be employed are being routinely asked to do more with less. Most people can rally to that kind of challenge for a defined period of time, but the fact is that organizations are trying to “sweat” their IT assets like never before. The good news, of course, is that most of those organizations are recognizing the value of IT. The bad news is that, in the interest of trying to maximize the value of those assets, more technologies than ever are being added to the IT environment, all of which serve to make the IT environment just that much more complex to manage.
That puts IT people in a bit of a quandary. Most are grateful to have a job, but increasingly less than appreciative of what it takes to succeed in that job. The one bright spot in that equation is that the tools used to manage IT are getting better, but there’s a significant gap between where more organizations are today and next-generation systems and associated IT management software that many of them can’t yet afford. Essentially, many of them are caught between the proverbial digital rock and a hard place.
Unfortunately, short of finding the money needed to fund a massive IT overhaul, most of the fixes that IT organizations can afford to put in place are best described as incremental. That means working in IT is a continuous journey. But it will still take some time to get from where most IT organizations are today to a brighter future where applications and systems that are easy to manage dynamically scale up and down on demand regardless of where they are deployed.
In the meantime, take comfort in the notion that we have some idea where we’re collectively headed no matter how bumpy the ride. We may not know exactly how long it will take us to get there, but you can safely assume that while giving thanks that IT will be more, rather than less, valuable in the years ahead, that will be a much longer journey than most people realize. Or, as technology futurist Paul Saffo often reminds us: “Never mistake a clear view for a short distance.”