Sunday, April 14, 2024

How to Choose Vendors for Massive IT Changes

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We are in the midst of massive change. We are using ever smaller devices to do increasingly more things, the applications are often running in some unknown location and hackers are finding ever more creative ways to get around our increasingly inadequate security.

When this kind of thing happens the vendors that survive the needed change are those that anticipate it.  Let’s talk about that this week.

Strategic vs. Tactical

With the amount of change going on it is hard to blame any technology vendor or IT shop for living tactically, basically operating by resourcing whatever the most painful problem of the moment is.  This is like treading water. Yes you stay alive, but if that big storm comes in and you aren’t prepared you’re still dead and a big storm is coming.

As you anticipate your future you want to start adjusting your strategic relationships to vendors who are either anticipating a similar future or in the strongest position for the next most likely future, so you have a hedge in case you’ve guessed wrong.   For instance it currently looks like we are moving to a future where devices are increasingly able to anticipate your needs, where robots take over menial tasks both inside and outside companies, and most of your decisions come from fact-based analysis of customer and market data.

If that future comes about, the company with relationships with firms driving that future – as opposed to struggling not to be killed by it – will be far better positioned to weather the coming storm.  This means you should be favoring companies that are sharing an aggressive move to next generation technology that dovetails with the future your firm is anticipating.

And you should have your own strategic people meeting with them regularly to understand their view of the future and make sure your view is as right as it can be – and theirs remains in line with your view.

In a storm you and your vendors have to work together as a well-oiled team. The technology storm that we can see coming is likely to be one of the biggest, actually the biggest, the market has ever experienced.

The Coming Change

Just look at what is coming to market: we have Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and IBM’s Watson increasingly in competition to be your digital assistant.  We have Amazon aggressively taking on the status quo and moving right around IT to line user very successfully, often making IT look redundant.  We have major advancements in technology ranging from the processors that are doing the work, to the networks that are transporting the information, to the method and kind of storage where it finally resides and from which it is analyzed.

We are not only anticipating redesigning data centers, we are beginning to ask, particularly in the mid-market, whether companies even need data centers. And because of the increasing level and frequency of threats we are moving away from perimeter and client side solutions to SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) technologies aggressively. We’re doing this because we now have to assume our perimeters will be compromised and focus on rapid response.

We have MU-MIMO coming out in wireless, which will obsolete all of our Wi-Fi access points and optical switching, obsoleting our routers and switches over the next few years. And even how we access our systems is finally undergoing change, because passwords simply aren’t secure at all anymore.

And this is the stuff that we know is advancing.  In the wings we have carbon nanotubes, quantum computing, Memresistors, broadcast power, lithium air batteries, and artificial true artificial intelligence are all waiting for just a tip to push them into real products.

The Future of Tech

This means you likely should be spending as much time talking about the future with your vendors as you do talking about what they want to sell you right now.   You don’t want to invest in another Sun, Digital, Netscape, or Palm. You want the vendor that is core to your mission critical strategy to be around when you need that strategy to weather the coming storm. If there has ever been a time to anticipate the future it is now, because we are facing the mother of all technical changes and she is coming in more like a hurricane this time.

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