I think I just sold myself out of a job. A good job…no, wait…a great job! But it’s with good reason. And with any luck, by the end of my rant, you might start thinking about working yourself out of a job too. My career in Information Technology began in the late-90’s in community college. The era of expensive build-your-own ‘clone’ PC’s, 14.4 baud modems, and this mesmerizing new thing called the Internet. Finally we were all connected! Being open, social, collaborative. Sharing ideas, learning as a community…by leaps and bounds. In the grand context of our time, it didn’t take the Internet long to become the backbone of the modern global economy, and in many parts of the world, the backbone to modern life. Back in 1995, things were just beginning. All these wondrous online tools, global access to software, WYSIWYG! - you might think software should’ve eaten the world a long time ago! At the time I was honing my skills for my future career, I hadn’t considered the inevitable, and instead I turned to hardware. It was easier to understand, I could touch it, fix it when it broke, I didn’t have to learn new languages (I was lazy in my 20’s). But my fondness was always for software and it’s community. Through the decades of silicon-based technology, the battle between hardware and software raged, leapfrogging each other every so often. We followed Moore’s Law and waited patiently for each cycle between badly written software, and doubled transistors (Pentium, oh my!). Mainstream virtualization and the Open Source community finally rendered the battle moot. Freedom from hardware constraints! Fast forward to today, and the modern business has no need for IT hardware infrastructure. True, many still have a reliance on it…but it’s fleeting. A 2016 startup’s checklist includes:
- an idea
- some crazy friends
- a few bucks a month for all the SaaS tools needed to build and run a business
And the utility that is Cloud allows those SaaS providers to rid themselves of hardware too. Why not take advantage? Let those who know best provide the service. Open, social, collaborative. Companies can focus on their reason for being - growing revenue-streams, and let professional service providers handle all the ‘noise’ of infrastructure and IT service delivery. Everyone to the Cloud! Right?
Well, we know it’s not that simple, otherwise software would’ve eaten the world back in 1995. Organizations are tied to old practices, old structures, and bad code, which restricts their freedom of movement. They simply can’t get to the Cloud…at least, not without a lot of effort and a trustworthy roadmap. But it’s not really about “getting to the Cloud”. It’s about freedom of movement. It’s what the Internet brought, virtualization expanded, and Open Source perfected.
Nobody sits around and talks about hardware (anymore). The engaging stories all revolve around software accomplishments. The slick failure bots Netflix unleashes on it’s continuously delivered software platform, the breakneck-pace of AWS growth, or the collaborative development of the Openstack community. Those advancements have a direct, positive impact on an enterprise’s economic situation.
Advancements in application delivery methods increases time-to-market, improves product quality, decreases major failures, reduces costs, streamlines productivity, embeds security, and transforms the enterprise. Open source tooling, automation, and a willingness to challenge organizational boundaries all unleash the true potential of our modern business era. These are the collaborative conversations that need to happen.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s clearly not an overnight transformation. The foundations have been in the works for decades. But finally the intersection of unlimited resources, open source, modular development, automated tooling, and a need to change business economics has opened the door. With a collaborative, social, open, and community-supported approach, I intend to help guide clients through that door.
We’re already having the interesting conversations. It’s through those conversations I ended up selling myself out of hardware…out of a job. So today I leave the old behind, ascending to an exciting new phase of my career, becoming transient…like an application should be. I’m far too infatuated with being relevant to businesses in the new online economy. It’s time to embrace enterprise transformation through more intelligent architecture and applications, to the benefit of bottom lines everywhere.