Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Barriers to Change in the IT Department

If you listen to vendors and book authors, you'll quickly come to believe that everyone working in the IT world on this planet is moving ahead of you and you are falling behind.  That is: UNLESS you adopt the newest, latest, greatest, coolest, neatest, most awesome increditastical technology/product (the one they are pushing in your face).

Don't buy that storyline.

Think you're the only person still using VBScript and not moving into PowerShell?  Wrong.
Think you're the only person not building web sites with ASP.NET?  Dead wrong.
Think you're the only person not entirely done migrating your data center to virtual services?  Nope.

The problem isn't that IT folks resist change.  Ok, well, a lot of them do (ironic, isn't it?).  It's really a pretty simple story:

Time and Budget.

Especially so in the current stinky economy, where many IT departments are understaffed, underbudgeted, and overstretched on things to do.  There's simply no time to stop and regroup on a new thing.  Sure, some will argue the infamous sales-pitch line: "You can't afford NOT to".  Logically, that is the most illogical dumbass statement ever invented by sales people sitting around a lap dance couchset in a Vegas strip club.  They sure get a lot of mileage from it though.  We'd all love to be 100% on par with the current trends.  We've been beat over the head again and again with a tube sock filled with the wood screws of technology vendor demos and presentations.  We get it.  The new stuff is awesome.

But right now, I can't get my CIO/CFO/CTO/CxO to buy me some slack (and time) to learn new things in my un-budgeted lab, and my wife/husband/significant-other will soon start looking for a new significant other if I continue to carve out personal time for the benefit of my employer.  I've heard this story so many times I can lip synch it to the tune of anything by Lady Gaga.  We're overstretched.

Now, let me spew some disclaimers: I'm a consultant.  I don't necessarily fit into this particular scenario, BUT I see it and experience it all the time through contact with customers and emails and phone calls.  The IT world is busy.  Too busy to rewrite all their scripts in PowerShell.  Too busy to move all their databases from SQL 2005 to 2008 R2 (and soon Denali).  Too busy to get the last two servers virtualized.  Too busy to finish migrating all the desktops, laptops and tablets to Windows 7.  But they're trying.  They are trying in between answering phone calls from absolute dumbass users with stupid questions, gripes and requests about things like Little Kitty screensavers, dancing flower mouse cursors and how to print their grandkids photos.  They're busy fixing the printer that someone keeps jamming.  Emptying mailboxes for users that refuse to and wonder why it's causing problems.  Busy trying to test all the patches every month AND get all the machines patched, including the ones that users like to turn off every night.

Busy Busy Busy.

So, if you're starting to feel panicky about falling behind: don't.  Relax.  There will be time to catch up.  Fit it in when you can.  When you get some precious time at the office, take advantage of it.  Keep your personal time for your personal life.  DO NOT sacrifice your personal life for technology.  That's a short term gain for a long term loss.

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