IT calling the shots again

It's time to think up new business strategies - IT has jumped the road map once again

The start of 2007 finds IT vendors at the top of the food chain squirming at being treated like the help. Vendor royalty such as Microsoft, Dell, and Intel, along with consultants who have insinuated themselves as IT's empowered insider, don't like it when you hold strategy meetings without inviting them. Besides, it seemed clear to them that continuing to play up to IT's appetite for convenience, expediency, and avoiding risk was a solid basis for their long-term road maps.

Imagine their dismay when in 2006 they discovered that IT had jumped the road map. Nobody expected IT to alter policy and direction without third parties at the head of the table. Green computing, consolidation, and virtualization looked like easily co-opted missions, but IT insisted on tackling these its own way, and no two organizations are running the same playbook.

The last time IT slipped its bridle, the cause was lock-in. Vendors tried to answer calls for open, modular, extensible, heterogeneous, interoperable, and standards-compliant solutions by tweaking ad copy and forming consortia to create self-serving pseudo-standards. IT didn't buy vendors' canned response of "Oh, yes, we have an interoperable in stock" response to demands for real change.

IT wouldn't be appeased so vendors were forced to break the glass on the big red button: When all else fails, shove marketing out of the way and deliver some value. Point releases give way to major updates, options become standard, proprietary becomes public, and independent standards bodies are empowered as forces for technological change. First-tier system makers discover that loyalty is a two-way deal and start taking lessons from hungrier lower-tier competitors. That became reality in 2006 and it will prevail into the coming year.

You're going green, but you're not buying green packaged as a message. You're consolidating, but you haven't accelerated your spending to bring in fatter servers, grander OSes and near-sentient storage labelled as bred for consolidation. Consolidation through attrition suits many of you just fine. Likewise, you're not doing what's expected of you with virtualization. The plan was that you'd buy new, expensive OSes to get baked-in virtualization, but you realized from the jump that that would defeat the purpose, which is lowering costs. Instead, virtualization's lesson is that most of those new and nifty OS features, the close-to-the-metal features that don't virtualize, are only occasionally essential. For example, Microsoft may have lowered the boom on Windows 2000, but third-party vendors have not. Being lightweight, Win2K is a favourite virtual guest OS, and everybody already owns it. IT noticed that cloning a Win2K virtual machine image doesn't trigger phone-home activation.

More than a few shops maintain a limited number of Red Hat or Suse licenses for access to support, but deploy stripped-down BSD and free Linux distributions in their virtual servers. RISC Unix servers aren't being dismantled; why tear down bullet-proof, standards-defining platforms that virtualize at native speed?

This will be a year during which vendors adjust to the fact that convenience, risk aversion, and status quo are not permanent IT priorities. Last year should remind vendors and consultants that, although messaging seems effective when vendors happen to be heading the same way that IT is, marketing does not drive IT.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tom Yager

InfoWorld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?