Every few years it seems there is another seismic shift in the IT landscape. First, there were on-prem server racks, then virtualization took over and changed the way we scope, build, and deploy servers for our partners. Then SaaS (Software as a Service) technologies were introduced and reduced our overall reliance on traditional servers. Then IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) allowed us to move these on-prem servers up to the cloud, reducing everyone's hardware liability and server footprint.
As the industry continues to move to a serverless, and decentralized compute service model, a few things never change. There will always be five key elements of successful IT solution deployment and management. We call these elements The Five Disciplines of IT.
Now, more than ever, we are truly experiencing the convergence of humans and technology. We are, in some way, enhancing our human capabilities with technology in every part of our lives. The following Five Disciplines of IT are vital components that all IT teams need to consider when architecting, deploying, and managing these technologies.
Without a doubt, the single most important aspect of technology is security. It doesn’t matter what you are doing, if you aren’t operating in a secure environment, you are out of business. Security can’t just be an afterthought. Secure design principles need to be used in every aspect of technology solution architecture.
Most IT service providers install AV and Malware protection and call it a day! With today's evolving security threats, this is no longer sufficient. At PlumChoice Business Services, we use a proactive multi-tiered approach to security that includes perimeter, DNS, network, and end-point security protocols, as well as best-in-class backup and disaster recovery technologies.
Our team uses their deep knowledge and ever-growing experience of security best practices in everything they do for our partners.
Do not allow your security strategy to be an afterthought.
Over the last few years, IT infrastructure and networking technologies have advanced to the point where you don't even need to show up for work anymore. You can dial-in from the beach, and work as if you were still slugging office coffees with your co-workers.
Of course, none of that would be possible without the ever-evolving service delivery architecture in the Microsoft Cloud. Microsoft, with Office 365 and Azure, is creating a universally accessible productivity and service platform that will enable every business to leverage global, enterprise-caliber resources that change how business is done, and challenge you to THINK BIGGER.
Take this opportunity to re-invent your business, and how your team creates value.
As long as humans exist in physical space, we will be required to have some interface with technology. Whether it is a dummy terminal dialing into a mainframe, or a state of the art mobile workstation, you need the right tools for the job. Endpoints are your Windows computers, your tablets, your smartphones, smart watches... all of these things are both valuable productivity tools, and notable security risks.
As IT infrastructure develops, so must the endpoint that connects to this infrastructure. Microsoft's latest iteration of Windows carries with it a shift in how the Operating System is managed, upgraded, used, and secured. Every aspect of Windows 10 has improved upon the very idea of an Operating System, and never has it been more clear that Microsoft is executing against it's vision of a unified, and integrated cloud platform experience for it's customers. Now, all upgrades to Windows 10 or "Windows as a Service", will be deployed "in-place" and will not require a full re-imaging nightmare to ensue across your organization. Microsoft has also completely overhauled their approach to security by integrating security features into each of their cloud products, and creating connective tissue between products to ensure that security and identity policies are consistent across the entire environment. They are also working to implement game-changing biometric authentication mechanisms like "Windows Hello" into supported devices.
If you're not running Windows 10 and Office 365, you are slowly losing the race.
Let’s face it - you can take all the resources in the world, and combine them into the best solution every created, but if your user experience is bad, you're out of business.
What good is anything if your users are not able to use it effectively? What if there is too steep a learning curve? What if they don't know how to do what they want to do? Every solution needs to be usable and intuitive, but in IT we don't always have control over those things. Sure, we can choose one solution over another, but we are largely at the mercy of software developers and hardware manufacturers when it comes to UX.
One of our guiding principles for creating a great user experience through technology is keeping it simple. It is easy to create massive "Cloud Sprawl" by choosing a solution vendor for every problem, but this creates a management nightmare when all of these systems are being used together, but updated, and secured individually. For every new vendor you introduce, you are increasing your overall management liability by 2x. Each user needs to be trained, each solution secured and updated, operational processes need to be created... UGHH!
At PlumChoice, we automate maintenance tasks so your users don't ever have to worry about them. The less administrative tasks your user's have to worry about, the better your business will perform.
Anyone can architect a complex solution. The single most effective thing we can do to keep our partners up and running, working, and building the future of your businesses is to keep your solution profile effective and simple.
Keep it simple!
One of my favorite things to do is to design simple technical solutions for partners that solve their most urgent business problems, and will grow with them along their path to success.
To do this successfully, you need to be in full and constant communication with your partners. You need to understand their businesses, and all aspects of their technology, to create a solution that solves the problems that they don't even have yet, but you know they one day will.
This is the magic of what we do.
When we have a conversation with one of our partners, we listen. We truly hear them. We have to. There is no way you can be successful in this business if you do not understand your partners. It is equally important for our partners to understand our perspective, and the reasons behind selecting one solution over another.
It is this kind of big picture thinking that is lacking from most IT Managed Service providers today. To me it is elementary. We are in this together. We work with our partners to structure their technology strategies just as we would our own company. We are on the hook for managing and supporting them, you know!
Simple, elegant, and strategic technology solutions, in alignment with our partner's budget and growth plan, is the key ingredient in our plan for our partners’ success.
Dream BIG, and build smart!
These 5 Disciplines of IT guide our team in every decision we make, every solution we design, and every partner we engage. I hope that they can help you on your journey to greatness, as they have helped us.
Drop me a note and tell me what you think of these Five Disciplines, and if you think they could help your business take that daunting leap to the next level!