The Case for 'Craft IT'

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Infrastructure – Quality with Scalability

There's a myth that craft, artisanal products aren't scalable. Craft brewers like Rogue, Dogfish Head and Magic Hat have clearly scaled without sacrifices to the product. They can do this because regardless of how much beer they produce, they have rigid standards for the ingredients and production method. In Craft IT, ingredients are the infrastructure.

IT providers have a responsibility to be transparent about the data centers, software, networks and facilities they use. If a multibillion dollar enterprise is going to trust its phone system, servers, ERP or cybersecurity to an outside expert, that expert better use the most reputable and proven brands. Craft IT may bring to mind the image of "home grown" infrastructure, but that is not the case. Craft IT is built on best-in-class infrastructure that is resilient and scalable.

Similar to the way a family invests in a grass-fed cow for a share of the meat, companies are essentially investors in managed IT. That investment should go toward top-notch technology that produces a greater dividend for every client.

There is an unnerving sense that IT is becoming impersonal and indifferent. Given pressure to contain budgets, some CIOs are turning to mass-produced IT services built on offshore labor, mediocre infrastructure and tradeoffs that put cost efficiency over service. But, according to David Corey, general manager, IT Services at ATS, much like mass-produced foods filled with ingredients no one can understand, "junk food" IT can make a company sick and sluggish.

The alternative is to shift the information technology sector toward what Corey calls "Craft" IT. He admits to liberally borrowing this concept from the food and beverage industries, where demand for locally grown, nutritious and environmentally friendly food has transformed American culinary culture. Today, who picks taste-bud-abusing beer when there is a quality alternative? Why eat chemicals out of a wrapper that has traveled 8,500 miles when it's equally convenient to buy local farm-fresh goods?

Not all calories are equal and neither are IT services. In managed IT – and arguably all IT niches built on service to a customer – a craft mentality will lead to more productive and happier end users. Craft IT has three foundations: people, infrastructure and empathy.

 

Related Topics : A Big Market for Big Data Jobs, Midmarket CIO, IT Management Automation, SharePoint, Technology Markets

 
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