This was my first year taking part in Blogging Idol, and I’m glad I did so.
Winning is not what matters to me. The opportunity to put my thoughts in some degree of order about the issues, on the other hand, mattered a lot.
I found it a learning experience, both in terms of thinking through things I’d come to subconsciously, and in the ideas put forward by others.
IT as we’ve known it is in the middle of a transition. It started unfolding nearly a decade ago, and probably has another decade or a little more to run.
What’s at stake is the value of IT in the enterprise. That’s a good place to build a career.
We’re aware that the world is undergoing several fundamental shakes these days. The dominance of North America and Western Europe economically continues to shift to a many-country model. So far, that’s shown up as our companies choosing to put manufacturing offshore, plus some services. There will be more changes, with companies from overseas both investing in, and putting work in, our countries in the West, as the years unfold.
At the same time, the global financial crisis continues to mutate and evolve. If technology has made it easier to globalize, it’s also made it easier to compound risks. Anyone watching Europe over the past year has seen Greece, Ireland and Spain, to name but three member states in the eurozone, forced to take actions to save banks, impose austerity, and the like. One day we’re likely to wake up to headlines showing that some country has thrown in the towel on this process, or that the leaders involved failed to act in time.
That will slam every country, for the financial world is deeply inter-related. Globalization will be coupled with relocalization in the blink of an eye.
Enterprises will be staggered, as debt markets dry up, share prices tumble, and pressures mount. Enterprise leaders, in turn, will want maximum value from everything.
I’ve written about the transition of IT from “iT: big on Technology, less about information” to “It: big on Infomation, less about technology” over the past six weeks. I’ve also written about Governance Boards and their role in keeping the business and the CIO joined together to create value and make good investment decisions.
What this means for most IT people is the following:
Sharpen your skills: you need to be good at business, good at IT, and good at execution simultaneously. You need, regardless of your job, to be more like the kind of consultant that is trusted, respected, and turned to when the chips are down to make something happen.
Understand your industry: whatever kind of enterprise you work in, understand clearly its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats — and think about how information or technology would help (and where it won’t make a difference). Have ideas, don’t wait to be told what to do.
If you are a manager, manage: most people who go into management in IT don’t necessarily want to manage people, but that’s going to be your number one job. You have to get the best out of your group. Demand a lot — fly air cover a lot — and deliver.
The next few years are not about whether your infrastructure ends up in the cloud, whether odd-ball gadgets come into the office, whether external data becomes part of the mix. They are, instead, about whether you, as an IT professional, add value to the enterprise.
If you do — there’s tons of work to do, and respect and rewards to be earned. It’s a great time to be in this field.