IT Doomsday?Alex Fields
Doomers have existed since the beginning of time. And almost every generation of people has believed, at one time or another, that their generation might be the last–those who witness (or usher in) the end of the world. Post-apocalyptic dystopia even enjoys their own sub-genre within the fictional realm–find these themes in every form of popular media (books, movies, TV, comics, etc.). Nuclear winters, alien invasions from outer space, zombie apocalypse, climate change, food chain collapse, natural disasters–the list goes on.
As a species, the ability to conceptualize global fears that could threaten our livelihoods or even our existence probably helped us to survive over the millennia. But paradoxically, our tendency to imagine doomer scenarios also creates a certain level of stress, hysteria and pandemonium at regular intervals throughout our lifetimes. It is worth reminding ourselves that the outcomes of many economic, political and geological or natural situations tend to be less dramatic than a summer blockbuster, and can even border on the anti-climactic as they unfold in real life.
In the world of IT, it is undeniable that there has been a “shake-up” in recent years as cloud-based technologies have introduced a certain amount of so-called “disruption” in the industry. The doomers were easy to identify, since they were the ones that immediately went to the most extreme conclusions:
- It’s the end of IT as we know it–better start making your next career moves now.
- Who needs IT when you’ve got the cloud?
- Soon everything will be automated and the world will be run by AI robots!
As with most doomer scenarios, we haven’t seen any of this come to pass, and the likelihood of us realizing the most extreme outcomes is probably rather small, at least for the foreseeable future. So what has happened, then?
- We’ve become better at automating (at least deployments), and while the cloud has reduced some cap ex and associated management (infrastructure), it has introduced other complexities as well;
- There is more BYOD, BYOA, etc.–introducing more “Shadow-IT” that needs to become better understood and adapted to;
- Security has become more critical and more difficult;
- Data is leaking out of organizations at an alarming rate as it is frequently shared through unmanaged SaaS applications and mobile devices;
- Mobile work lifestyles are on the rise and require a different set of tools and a different sort of support.
And I am sure there are others–but let’s just look at these first five. This is the reality we live with today. Not so bad, right? I mean nothing on the surface here says IT is ending–goodbye to the good-paying jobs, hello unemployment line. In fact, the situation is quite the opposite.
We may not be deploying and managing as much hardware as before, but we have a host of other issues to deal with that did not exist even ten years ago. So stop fretting about the future and get to work on it instead. You’ll be glad you did.