In 1970, around the same time David Bowie was writing “Changes”, Alvin and Heidi Toffler wrote a book entitled “Future Shock,” arguing that the ever-accelerating rate of technological and social change would create fear, confusion, and tension across the globe. In the last 50 years, their predictions have been largely prescient. While technology keeps getting better and has improved our lives in a myriad of ways, there is no doubt that it leaves some people’s heads spinning. What can you do? You can start by asking your IT partner for help.
As the ancient Greek platitude claimed, “the only constant in life is change”– and there is no place where that is more true than in technology. It seems every few weeks, you turn on your smartphone only to receive a message that your operating system has been updated. As you scroll through your apps, you begin to notice changes – some small, others dramatic. Maybe you receive an invitation to tour the new features, or perhaps you simply stumble through the updated interface and learn as you go. Either way, it’s becoming a fact of modern life and it's creeping into the business world.
In the cloud era we live in, we have moved from adjusting to new features in our personal apps, such as Facebook or smartphone games, to reacting to constant changes in our business applications. Gone are the days of running the same static version of Office for a decade. Microsoft’s Office 365 service keeps users up to date with the latest and greatest tools, adding new feature sets and even entirely new applications on almost a daily basis. Core business applications, previously built for-cause by in-house developers, have largely moved to SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) tools or hosted solutions with third-party vendors, who update these applications on a whim. That way, users always have access to the latest features and can stay ahead of generational obsolescence without planning massive upgrades.
Constant change isn’t a bad thing – in addition to having the flexibility to constantly improve applications for business use, software developers are more readily able to patch and add new security features. This can keep your data safe as developers work around the clock to stay ahead of the latest threats. You no longer have to purchase new software or install major service packs – it's all done on the backend, paid for as part of your monthly service fee. Even with so much of the process automated, there are still enough choices to overwhelm even the most astute technologist. How do you enable the correct security features for your business? How can you possibly evaluate every single application out there?
The short answer is you don’t have to do it alone. Consult your IT partner. As an account manager, I regularly meet with my clients and its always on the agenda to educate organizations so they make informed decisions around technology. Your IT partner may also have specialized consultants and engineers who can offer in-depth insights. In some cases, your IT partner may recommend a third-party industry consultant or get you in touch with another company who has been down the same road.
IT organizations have evolved from needing expertise on configuring complicated hardware (which we still do plenty of) to requiring broad-based knowledge on the rapidly changing world of cloud technology. So, work together with your IT partner to turn and face the strange changes in the cloud era. You’ll be glad you did.
Kevin Beling is an Account Manager at Systems Engineering. He is responsible for the relationship with clients and works closely with them to understand their business goals and drivers. He introduces them to technologies that can help them achieve their desired business outcomes while keeping an eye on their security.