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Untitled Document

It may be difficult to remember, but IT once stood for "information technology." Not hardware. Not software. Not cables. Certainly IT didn't stand for air-conditioning and forklifts.

Yet over time, the function of IT in many organizations has reverted to that of shipping and logistics coordination, as IT teams scramble to grow, shrink, or relocate the inherently static infrastructure of data centers to match the increasingly distributed and volatile information technology needs of the businesses they serve.

Luckily, information technology is also evolving to meet the needs of IT, enabling new approaches to delivering IT services to end-users.

"Machines" are so 1990s

During the Internet boom, as most companies rushed to get online, the most common complaint heard in IT was how long it took to get machines. If you were delivering a new email system, for example, you had to carefully estimate how many machines you'd need to purchase and install to adequately meet the needs of end users -- because it took weeks to get and install machines. Calculate the numbers wrong, and you'd incur the wrath of either the CFO for wasted capital, or end users for slow email over the weeks it took to get additional machines.

Fast-forward to the 2000s, and life has improved somewhat. Now, instead of physical machines, IT is often found calculating the number of virtual servers. The good news is that they only take days to instantiate instead of weeks, and require fewer underlying physical machines. The bad news is that those physical machines are more expensive, the associated networking and routing is far more complex, and storage larger -- so the step-function inherent in planning, especially for smaller remote office, is still present.

At the same time, the pace of business continues to accelerate, and the challenge of pleasing your CFO and your end-user constituency -- between the demands for both greater efficiency in spending and greater responsiveness to user needs -- becomes ever harder. Many IT professionals find themselves reduced to shipping agents, constantly moving hardware to various locations, reconfiguring networks, and reinstalling software, with little time to address strategic needs of the business.


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