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Turbonomic Blog

IT Then and Now

Posted by Nick Giglia on Jan 2, 2018 3:30:40 PM

We experienced the first seismic shift in business when IT became accessible to all and revolutionized the workplace. Now, we are seeing new technologies power another shift in IT itself. Over the past 10 years, with the mainstreaming of concepts like cloud computing and the emergence of disruptive technology like the iPhone, IT has changed into a very different place than it used to be. 

We’re seeing these profound changes in IT due to user expectations – they want the best tools, and they want them now. An IT department that doesn’t meet these needs risks being either bypassed or replaced.
Then Vs. Now
Rather than talking in general about the changes in IT, we will look at the change, in a few key areas of IT:

Speed of Execution



Complex IT projects often took years, forming a large gap between the initial idea and the final execution.

The proliferation of cloud services, as well as tools such as rapid prototyping, have dramatically reduced the distance between the idea and execution. It’s possible to have a ready-to-use, enterprise-class business tool at your fingertips in the time it takes to enter a credit card number.

Project Management



IT utilized the iterative Waterfall method of Project Management. Projects were often years-long and cost immense amounts of money before ever being deployed to an end-user.

Collaborative philosophies like Agile and DevOps are dramatically slashing the amount of time to complete projects and new releases. For example, the Puppet Labs 2016 State of DevOps report suggests high-performing organizations can now deploy code up to 200 times faster and spend 22% less time on rework with DevOps.[1] Companies from IBM Watson[2] to Netflix[3] to Nationwide Insurance[4] have shown amazing results with DevOps.

IT Spending



The IT department originated all spending on IT and technology. All technology spend was executed through the IT department, with decisions made by central IT decision-makers and steering committees.old money

Business functions are seizing an ever-growing portion of the technology purse strings. A 2017 PWC study suggests that IT only controls 28% of technology spending, and that number has trended downward[5]. Business units have a greater ability to bypass IT in both open and less-than-open ways. In some cases, business units control their own technology spend with guidance from IT’s best practices. In many more cases, frustration with IT leads business units to engage in “shadow IT,” bypassing the IT department altogether. Either way, business units are now spending more of their own money on technology. They’re armed with enterprise-class weapons, and they’re not afraid to use them.


IT Knowledge



IT was the sole bastion of technical knowledge within the organization. This knowledge was not shared outside of the inner sanctum of IT.


The IT department is no longer the only place in which technical knowledge resides. Increasingly tech-savvy generations and increased cooperation between IT and business functions has led to generally-knowledgeable stakeholders both inside and outside the walls of the IT department. The inner sanctum has been breached.


Location of Infrastructure



All IT infrastructure was located on-premises and managed by either company employees or contractors. In some instances, colocation was used, and it was often built out by in-house IT and managed by a mixture of provider IT and in-house IT.

Screen Shot 2018-01-02 at 2.19.44 PM

The cloud has driven a decentralization of IT resources. Many resources are still housed on-premises, but it is no longer required in order to run an effective business. In reality, IT resources can now be literally anywhere in the world. A 2017 Forbes study showed that hybrid cloud adoption has increased threefold since 2016, with the average company utilizing 29 different cloud solutions.[6]

Location of Work



All work was done in the office, on company-owned IT assets.

Screen Shot 2018-01-02 at 2.30.06 PM

Mobility, through laptops, tablets, and smartphones, has enabled an “always-on” culture, in which workers need little more than a functioning internet connection to log onto company IT resources and do work.




Companies needed to make significant investments in fixed assets in order to achieve scale.

Screen Shot 2018-01-02 at 2.23.24 PM

The cloud eliminates the requirement for fixed assets to achieve scale. Scale is within reach for every organization at the swipe of a credit card and the signing of a service agreement. Companies need dynamic management to take advantage of the elasticity and the pay-as-you-go flexibility, or the cloud will not offer profound improvements.

Technology Drivers



IT drove all technology updates inside the organization, with predictable upgrade schedules and top-down decision-making. The average user was either not consulted at all or consulted after a final decision had already occurred.

Many users have a more rich technology experience, with more up-to-date technology, at home than they do in the office. Technologies that originate in the home (such as iPhones and iPads) often find their way into the workplace due to end-user demand.

Key Trends

When you look at the key factors, a number of trends emerge that are common throughout the New IT:

  • Democratization of information, access to tools, and knowledge.
  • Increased emphasis on collaboration between IT and business teams.
  • New paradigms in technology are coming from the bottom-up, not just the top-down.

These trends are expected to continue as we move further into the New IT.


Bottom Line

Ultimately, all these changes have led us to a profound truth: we are all IT people now. IT can’t position itself as the lone source of technical knowledge. Instead, IT supports an organization made up of hundreds, or even thousands, of people who are knowledgeable about IT and have the ability to implement their own technical solutions. This has completely changed the rules of the game, and IT needs to adapt in order to win in this new reality.


Check Out These 2019 IT Predictions

[1] Puppet Labs, 2016 State of DevOps Report

[2] Source: IBM

[3] Source: Netflix

[4] Source: IBM

[5] 2017 PWC Digital IQ Report

[6] Source: Forbes

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