• United States

Management trends break down barriers

Feb 11, 20043 mins
Data Center

* Recent management trends have potential to tear down barriers between disciplines

Current trends in management – such as automation, on-demand computing, utility computing and business impact management – have very obvious benefits to IT organizations. One of the more obscure benefits of these trends is that they break down barriers between IT disciplines.

Think about it. To implement higher-impact automation (beyond the device level), you’ve got to be able to pull information from multiple IT disciplines. You’ve got to model what IT staffs have been doing in their heads – assimilating information and expertise from disparate sources and analyzing it to derive conclusions. Although IT management capabilities have essentially resided in “silos” to date, the requirements of the new emerging environments will test and stretch the silo approach to the point of eventually breaking down those barriers. 

The same thing goes for on-demand computing and all the rest of these new trends. They take a bigger view of IT management, or expand control over larger collections of resources.

When you raise the view above the singular device level, perhaps up to the business process level, the dependencies and complexities increase. And managing those dependencies and complexities is an important aspect of managing an on-demand, adaptive environment. Multi-skilled IT staffers who bridge across disciplines will become valuable assets for IT organizations. For example, understanding the nuances and implications that a network change will have on a storage backup window or a business-critical application can be more valuable to a company than a deeply technical network guru whose knowledge begins and ends at the network borders.

Don’t get me wrong – deep technical knowledge is important and valuable. But what I’m saying is that if IT environments start transforming toward automated, on-demand environments, then those IT staffers who can straddle the line with other disciplines, as well as have a business view, will be the most valuable for the IT organization.

So perhaps these trends will be the catalyst that will help to tear down the barriers between the IT disciplines. To date, many IT organizations still operate with discrete silos, although there is increased interaction between the silos. Security, storage, databases, systems, networks, applications, and all of the rest are all part of the same continuum – to facilitate and enable the business to run effectively and efficiently. In parallel, the management of each of these areas must start to become part of a management continuum. Integration, federation of management data, feedback and correlation between the disparate areas are central to making this happen.

As an IT staffer in a progressive company, if you haven’t already, prepare yourself by increasing your awareness and understanding of the disciplines that are adjacent to your area of expertise. Start to look at the interesting dynamics developing at the seams of your area and those of the adjacent areas. This is of particular importance when there are potential effects on the business side of the house – and be aware of that too. It’s my contention that the more well-rounded IT staffers will become more valuable as time goes on. Start building up your value by expanding your personal borders.