I started my career fresh out of college in 2004 as a trainee. As part of my education, both in college and on the job, I was taught extensively about the various network topologies and how they’d evolved. In essence, a business IT system and the almost inescapable pervasiveness of the redundant star topology, where the central hub acts like a server and the connecting nodes act like clients. Having a redundant everything was second nature. Redundancy was a must have.
We now live in a world where there really is no topology for most businesses as at least part of the system is completely outsourced to a faceless megacorp and we have absolutely no idea how it works behind the scenes. For someone who spent 20 years at the coal face it’s honestly bewildering to watch how quickly companies will give up control and responsibility over both their, and their clients, data.
But I’m not here to admonish businesses for not forking out £25,000 on a new IT system every 3 years though. In fact, there is something really incredible about this newer model I really like. I’d rather focus on that.
This concept goes by a few names, whether it be decentralisation, modularity, or even pick ‘n mix (yes, I’ve heard that one too). Let’s explain what I mean here. Say you want to store your files somewhere electronically, you can choose an old-school file server, Google Drive or any number of solutions. Say you now want to manage client contact information and need a CRM. You can pick any number of smaller solutions or have your own database designed, or use something like Hubspot. These solutions don’t conflict, you can buy them directly and just get on with your job. For someone whose seen this change in philosophy it’s incredible.
If you’d asked an IT manager to do this 20 years ago, you’d be facing a year of hell with sourcing, designing, implementing, testing, more testing and then going through months of tweaking and training. And of course you’d have to build enough redundant systems to handle any eventuality. The business would usually work through their dedicated IT company to outsource large amounts of this. In the same way you go to your lawyer for legal advice businesses would go to their IT team for IT decisions. It’s a costly process.
Those days are done. As profitable as they were for IT companies I think that’s for the best. We’re now able to offer a private cloud storage solution that doesn’t have the drawbacks of Google Drive, a file server or anything else. We can do this without conflicting with any other solution provided by any other team. We’re able to handle your communications issues, document management issues or anything else as independent problems and there’s no need to take over your IT system in its entirety and ask you to put pure faith in us on day one. You remain in control now, we just help and guide where appropriate, working with whoever you ask us to work with.
It may sound bizarre for a tech nerd to prefer this, but IT is designed to be used by people and this makes far more sense to me. The separation between the tech and the person using it has long been the source of my industry’s woes in my opinion, but that’s a rant for another day.