Few would have ever predicted the pervasiveness of technology in our modern world. Walk around any public area today -- city streets, grocery stores, malls, concert venues, coffee shops -- and you'll be hard pressed to not find someone -- usually many people -- using a smartphone, tablet or laptop for work, play or a combination of the two. And not only do we take very advanced technology with us nearly everywhere we go, but now it's part of the inner workings of many buildings thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT) bringing building security, energy systems and even the office coffee pot onto company networks. And then there's that little thing called the cloud that lets us store, share and retrieve every conceivable file of any type, at any time, from anywhere like never before.
Ah, the convenience of modern technology -- it's a wonderful thing.
Does this all sound familiar to you? For those who said yes, especially if you tend to blend personal and business technology usage, answer this -- how much thought do you give to the people responsible for the actual operation and maintenance of your technology on any given day?
If you're hiding your eyes in shame at this moment, you're not alone.
Technology has become so tightly woven into our lives both inside and outside the workplace that it's all just second nature to us -- we don't even think about it anymore. Consequently, we also often fail to give thought to the venerable stewards of it all, the ones working behind the scenes to ensure we can access our work emails on personal devices, connect to our important projects while working from home and access our favorite cloud applications at work--the IT professionals.
A simple internet search will pull up thousands of articles citing how technology is disrupting and transforming every industry, but what about how technology is disrupting the technology industry? Specifically, how all this disruptive technology is affecting the IT professionals who are responsible for ensuring it all, well, works. The truth is, just as the digital revolution has made our lives easier in so many ways, it's made the work of IT professionals that much more complex.
Indeed, technology is evolving and transforming the technology industry, and placing more demands on our IT professionals than ever before. Just ten years ago, things like the cloud and data science were mere twinkles in the eyes of a handful of forward-thinkers. Today, for all their benefits, they're putting pressure on virtually all IT professionals to evolve their skills to keep up, and keep businesses running smoothly.
IT is Everywhere
As a CTO, I've seen all of this firsthand, and I think it's important to spread the word of what's going on with the IT profession, both on a micro and macro level, and recognize IT professionals among the unsung heroes of business--who even help us with our personal technology sometimes, too (guilty).
Maybe you fall into this category, too, after all, a recent SolarWinds survey of nearly 900 technology users found that a majority (56 percent) expect their employers' IT professionals to ensure the "consistent availability and performance" of their personally-owned devices connected to corporate networks, of which most of us connect and average of two more to company technology resources then we did 10 years ago. Think about how often you access work email on your personal iPhone, connect your Surface to the company Wi-Fi or maybe even connect your Fitbit to your employer-issued laptop.
The survey also showed that nearly nine out of 10 people (87 percent) expect their employers' IT professionals to ensure the consistent availability and performance of the cloud-based applications they use at work, and nearly seven out of 10 (68 percent) would say it's their employers' IT professionals' fault if they can't access those cloud-based applications. This despite the fact that in many cases, these cloud applications aren't in any way, shape or form under the direct control of our IT professionals, instead being owned and managed by the cloud application vendors themselves. This is something to think about the next time you're uploading a document or those photos to your Dropbox account from your company-issued computer and it doesn't happen quite as fast as you think it should.
Lastly, the survey demonstrated that a lot of us work remotely, using and connecting to work-related resources outside our employers' office buildings; in fact, half of us (49 percent) do so regularly. Not only this, but most of us (62 percent) expect all the technology we use or access while working remotely to work just as well as when we're in the office, despite the fact that there are so many other factors affecting the performance of technology that are completely outside the control of our IT professionals when we work remotely.
I guess you could say that today more than ever, IT is everywhere.
And to work well, all of this and so much more, while seemingly ordinary and seamless to us, takes a myriad of complex computer systems--what we in the business call "infrastructure"--installed and managed by IT professionals over the course of countless hours often put in long after the rest of us call it a day.
Let's Appreciate Our IT Professionals
We all deserve a little more appreciation for the roles we play in creating success. And it just so happens that IT Professionals Day is coming up, giving us the opportunity to show a little appreciation in their direction.
In fact, this year, the holiday falls on September 20th (annually on every third Tuesday of September). It exists to celebrate all IT professionals--systems administrators, network engineers, database administrators, information security professionals, software developers, IT support technicians and all other professionals serving in information technology-related roles.
Given the tremendous pressure on our IT professionals to power our day, combined with the monumental task of keeping up with the changes technology is bringing to the industries they serve, let alone their own, I hope you'll join me in saying thanks to all the IT professionals out there for all they do.