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Disruptive innovation and the rise of the versatile IT Pro

Business priorities are constantly changing, but for many, there are two common objectives - to grow the company and increase the bottom line.

More recently businesses have also been under pressure to adapt to challenging economic climates, digitise processes and implement flexible working policies for staff. For these priorities to be met, businesses look to their IT departments to provide the tools that can make these things happen.

Previously the IT department embodied the mentality of ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. However this approach is no longer appropriate as it now needs to be constantly innovating if it is to keep up with the speed of doing business today

Organisations look to technology to be the differentiated solution and IT departments are often under the spotlight to implement innovative technology that is cost effective to run, quick to implement, and meets the ever changing needs of the business. The onus however isn’t just on the IT departments, it’s also up to the IT professional to up their game.

The biggest transformation to IT since the Internet

For a long time the Internet has been considered to have had the biggest ever impact on IT departments. But it could be argued that new disruptive technologies such as cloud computing and virtualisation have actually driven more dramatic change. For example, they have brought huge benefits to businesses from cost savings to flexibility, scalability and quality assurance. These technologies have completely changed the way data is stored and what services data centres provide.

In the same timeframe, anything-as-a-service (XaaS), software defined data centres (SDDC), OpenStack and container technologies have become a focus for IT professionals. All of these solutions fall under disruptive innovation and have led to the transformation of the role of the IT pro, contributing to a bigger change for IT pros than the birth of the Internet.

Though these technologies are great for business, what isn’t widely recognised is that this disruptive innovation has displaced many day-to-day tasks carried out by an IT pro. In order for the IT pro to survive and thrive at work today they need to be adaptable and versatile enough to have a good understanding of all of these disruptive technologies to further innovate the business.

Embody the ‘Versatile IT Pro’

Years ago IT departments were full of generalists, those who had a broad understanding of IT, but lacked depth of expertise in certain areas. They would focus more on desktop support rather than being the IT pro that would help accommodate wider business objectives. However, IT pro’s now need to be more resourceful as IT departments get leaner and the requirement becomes do more with less.

Today, IT departments manage an incredible array of functions, from cloud and virtualisation to mobility, compliance, data analytics, SDN/virtual networks, BYOx and workflow automation and orchestration. So despite the transformation of the role of the IT pro, the workload has largely increased as there is more to integrate, monitor, keep running and secure. The key to being a successful IT pro is to be more than capable when it comes to coping with all of these solutions. This means embodying the ‘Versatile IT Pro’ to help the business confidently meet the new technology order by integrating cloud services and defining policies, processes and success criteria for service delivery across virtualised ecosystems.

Those who don’t adopt this attitude will struggle to succeed as more disruptive technology becomes the norm. The IT pro can no longer afford to rely on what has worked before. In order to remain valuable, they need to innovate to keep up with the new technologies and infrastructure.

The way to do this is to adapt their skillset accordingly and gain specific application knowledge to leverage these new technologies and provide expertise in highly specialised fields.

Kong Yang, Head Geek at SolarWinds

Kong Yang
Kong Yang is a Head Geek™ at SolarWinds with 20+ years IT experience specializing in virtualization and cloud management. He’s a VMware® vExpert, Cisco®Champion, and active contributing practice leader within the virtualization and cloud communities.