Two recent blog posts got me thinking about the future of our industry and how people, not technology, will be at the center of this change.
The first post by Steve Duplessie, The Next Generation of IT Folk – They Don’t Care What Your Grandpa Did, predicts the attitudes of next generation IT workers towards technology. Growing up as Facebook users, these workers won’t accept the non-disclosure engagement model that has prevailed for decades. He suggests that they will turn to socially sophisticated companies that engage customers with social tools that bring much more depth to the vendor/customer relationship.
The other post by Martin Glassborrow (StorageBod), Storage People Are Different, describes the entrenched attitudes of storage professionals who have historically protected their organization’s intellectual assets by tightly controlling access to data, including cold, archived data. Writing about the need to change the situation, he observes: “…the infrastructures that we have in place today are not architected to allow this to happen and the storage teams do not have processes and procedures to allow this to happen.” He concludes that information stakeholders, storage professionals and vendors need to collaborate to create new technologies and practices.
So the conundrum in these two blog posts are that new information workers will expect more access to more information and that the storage industry is not very well-positioned to intersect those expectations. As Martin points out, infrastructures are very difficult to change, especially as they increase in size and storage infrastructures continue to grow at alarming rates. But it’s not just the infrastructure that must change, but the people running it too. If they don’t they will be pushed out of the way by newcomers. Utopian “Big Data” solutions that are based on data access through specialized centrally controlled systems are not the answer. The change will definitely involve “big” and “data” but will challenge the assumptions and beliefs of the people who brought our technology to its current state. If Steve is correct there will be no choice in the matter – companies will evolve or die.