By Larry Foster
As we get closer and closer to 2020, there has been a proliferation of predictions of the technology it will bring. While this practice is common during the latter half of any decade, the number “2020” seems to many like a particularly significant milestone. There is plenty of excitement and extrapolation for new technology trends over the coming years.
Yet it’s important to remember that with these changes comes continuity in the concepts IT organizations can use to adapt to new trends. Many ‘new’ developments in IT are actually new expressions of legacy frameworks. In this post, we take a look at some currently popular terms and how they are informed by heritage IT best practices.
Digital workers have a particular understanding of the adage ‘change is the only constant.’ However, when you take a step back, you can see that although the specific forms of technology are constantly changing, the fundamental strategic business principles remain fairly stable. Each evolution in technology is an incremental increase in the consumerization of IT, the blending of the personal and business uses of technology devices and applications. Each advancement in technology empowers more people to do their work anywhere and anytime, more effectively and efficiently. Underlying the radical changes are stable trends.
Marketing hype aside, you can see that the current vernacular is grounded in conventional communications technology best practices. This is great news for IT professionals, who can realize that “what was old is new again.” No matter the latest tech, the success of IT organizations is underpinned by establishing a flexible and sustainable framework to help maximize technology investments. They can use their contextual knowledge of best practices to manage emerging technology trends.
Let’s look at six current popular terms and clarify the similarities to established best practice principles.
The Cloud. The first representations of “the cloud” that I recall seeing in my career were used over thirty years ago and included the acronym “PSTN” (Public Service Telephone Network). Back in the days of PSTN (which still exists today), “the cloud” represented all the contracted services supporting an external communications network. Today the concept of the cloud has expanded to represent “Anything-as-a-Service,” including Infrastructure (IaaS), Software (SaaS), Platforms (PaaS), Unified Communications (UCaaS), Call Center (CCaaS), Communications Platform (CPaaS), Internet-Connected Things (TaaS), and more.
Multicloud is a scenario where an organization acquires services from multiple cloud service providers (CSPs). The best practices for managing multiple suppliers and guiding the procurement, provisioning and payments for the original PSTN cloud services can still be leveraged today to improve the management of an organization’s technology suppliers.
Service Brokerage is an operating framework where a shared service business entity with the appropriate subject matter expertise acts as an intermediary between purchasers and sellers. Telecom professionals have been performing the role of a technology service broker for several decades by negotiating, procuring, provisioning and paying for services across the full spectrum of telecommunication service providers.
Hybrid environments are a scenario where an organization relies on a combination of hosted and premise-based infrastructure to support their technology requirements. Again, for several decades, telecom departments have been supporting a combination of PBX, Hosted/Centrex and now Over-The-Air (OTA) and SD-WAN infrastructures.
Chargebacks are the method organizations use to automatically allocate charges back to the appropriate consumer of a contracted technology service. When IT operates as a Service Broker, it acquires services at a lower rate by negotiating based on the aggregate consumed services of the entire organization. Although the practice of chargebacks has fallen out of style, the rapid emergence of PayGO cloud services is forcing organizations to resurrect this legacy best practice to make sure cost centers only pay for what they use and have the tools they need to effectively forecast and budget.
Cost Optimization includes the monitoring and measuring activities to identify opportunities where unused and underutilized technologies can be decommissioned and/or consolidated. Telecom departments have relied on the principle of cost optimization for decades to make sure they are optimizing the use of their wide area networks (WANs) and deployed mobile devices.
With so much focus on change, it’s important to remember how many principles remain the same. As emerging trends take shape, their forms are similar to those of yesteryear. Welcome to 2020, where what was old is new again.
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