Hadoop, SharePoint, vSphere, and the iPad point to intriguing possibilities for tech

Even for tech veterans, several new developments indicate exciting directions for IT

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That's just a starter list. You'll notice I didn't specifically include the cloud in it. That's because most of what's being touted about the cloud is the opposite of new and interesting. It's being positioned as the same old stuff, not much different from a classic data center outsource, only virtualized and commoditized. The cloud could become interesting, and I hope its proponents decide to make it so.

Here's what hasn't changed in IT:

  • IT's obsession with process continues unabated, to its detriment, especially in the application development space. The agile family of methodologies was supposed to separate processes from development, refocusing it as a craft based on strong, trust-based relationships between developers and end-users driven by high levels of informal interaction. However, I hear about how it's being taught as a series of steps you have to follow, not as a style of relationship management.
  • IT operations has the same mission statement as always: Be invisible. That means certain disciplines and technologies are as essential as ever: software quality assurance, change control (ITIL calls it "change management"), systems monitoring and management, and all the other bits and pieces of making sure everything is on when it's supposed to be on.
  • A clean, well-engineered technical architecture is, if anything, even more important than before. Especially now, when IT is expected to deliver the same applications just about anywhere and on a variety of target platforms, any messiness will be subject to polynomial explosion.
  • As always, excellent leadership and management is essential to IT's success. In particular, excellent leadership and management means ...
  • As always, attracting, recruiting, retaining, and promoting the best talent possible is essential to IT's success as well.

A lot of the fundamentals are very familiar, whether or not someone has attached a new name to the same old idea. The standards of basic professionalism are pretty much what they've always been.

If all you see is the same old same old, I'm concerned you might be like a batch Cobol programmers I knew when interactive computing was first gaining interest in the enterprise. They refused to see that anything had changed and eventually had to find jobs outside IT because they were no longer qualified for the essential jobs inside IT.

There's plenty that's new, interesting, and exciting. Figuring out what it all means? That's the most intriguing and challenging part.

- Bob

This story, "Hadoop, SharePoint, vSphere, and the iPad point to intriguing possibilities for tech," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Bob Lewis's Advice Line blog on InfoWorld.com.

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