By Brett Parlier, Solutions Architect, VMware Professional Services
There’s a lot of excitement about cloud computing right now, but I also run into an equal amount of trepidation. In particular, networking pros are worried that increasingly advanced automation will soon put them out of a job.
This is just one of several common points of resistance to the big changes happening in IT. I want to talk about four of them and provide some advice on how to reframe the discussion for clients, colleagues, and possibly yourself.
1. You’re going to automate my job away!
I heard this a lot after the announcement of VMware’s NSX network virtualization platform in August. My response? That’s the same thing all the server guys said 10 years ago when virtualization came out. It just doesn’t happen.
What the higher levels of automation DO mean is that your job is going to get less stressful, you’ll spend less time on the “daily grind” tasks, and ultimately have more time and resources to devote to big-picture strategy—the kind that sets IT (and you) up for a bigger role in the business.
2. Moving to cloud is going to mean reworking my whole architecture
When approaching cloud implementation with clients, I often find a misled “boil the ocean” mentality. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and resistant when you think that cloud means changing everything you’re currently doing. Luckily, that’s not the case.
When we assess existing architectures, usually 90 percent of what’s in place is probably still usable; VMware products integrate with the majority of services in use. All we want to do is help you stay competitive by making it easier to make the upgrades necessary to keep customers happy.
For instance, 100% of retail companies have a process to bill somebody, but as the market evolves, if that process doesn’t, it will quickly be more and more outdated from a user-experience perspective. We are coming up the on the holiday season; wouldn’t it be worth it to have the flexibility to make sure that purchase experience was top quality, ensuring high customer satisfaction?
3. It’s the business units’ responsibility to change
IT organizations have historically spent a lot of time and energy trying to convince business units to change the way they work without first considering changes they need to make themselves.
Right now, IT is shifting toward being a service provider and broker. That means a more holistic view of how all the pieces fit together. And that means more flexibility and more automation.
4. Talking to end users just means more work for me
Another necessary change if IT is going to step into its role as a service provider is for it to be more receptive to ideas that come from outside IT, and to get more comfortable sharing and making a case for new ideas with the C-suite. By soliciting feedback from both parties at the earliest stages, IT will be able to build the right architecture from the beginning and spend less time rebuilding.
Advanced management tools within the cloud structure also provide high levels of visibility into technical systems, which can provide huge time savings in reduced support calls. If IT takes the time to educate end users about what that newly visible information means, those users will be able to tell IT exactly where their problem is, instead of IT staff spending 30 minutes just trying to figure out what the problem is. The socialization of performance issues between the end user and IT staff through visibility on both ends will free up the engineering staff to optimize, rather than troubleshoot.
Change always produces resistance—and IT is going through a huge change right now. But those IT professionals who can embrace this new way of thinking, and lead rather than hamper the transition, will quickly see this shifting landscape as a runway, not a minefield.
Brett Parlier has worked with VMware Professional Services for the Mid-Atlantic region for more than three years. He specializes in core infrastructure technologies (networking, storage, hardware) and cloud computing on VMware platforms, as well as application and infrastructure monitoring for virtual environments. He has delivered the cloud to various enterprise customers and has assisted with innovation in the marketplace.