Regardless of the size of the IT environment you’re running, the type of business you’re working with or even the industry that you’re operating in, one thing is clear: technology has come a long, long way in the last 20 years. Even when you think about just how much things have changed since Steve Jobs first walked across a stage in Cupertino and introduced the first iPhone to the world, the level of disruption has been enormous. (The first iPhone, by the way, was introduced only a little over a decade ago.)
These days, we are just as productive halfway around the world on vacation as we are in the comfort of our own offices. We communicate and collaborate daily with anyone, anywhere, anytime—all in an instant. Digital cameras, portable computers, personal data assistants, GPS devices—they’re all the exact same device and they all fit comfortably in a pocket.
When you flash back even farther to 1995, you begin to get an idea of just what a significant shift we’ve all been through, both as IT aficionados and as a society at large.
What was State of the Art in 1995?
For the sake of argument, let’s say that you were running a business in the mid-1990s that had a lot of money to burn on technology. You needed it to help create a competitive advantage and cash was no object… for the sake of example, let’s think about just how far your money really would have gone.
Back in those days, you probably would have gotten a 15-inch monitor as this is right around when they were becoming standard. If you wanted to really splurge and go for the 17-inch variant, that probably would have cost you a few hundred dollars more. Your computer likely would have come with a 1GB hard drive standard. The basic configuration would have come with about 4MB RAM, but you absolutely would have upgraded to the 8MB variant—after all, it was worth it.
All of this would have cost you somewhere between $3,000 and $4,000 depending on upgrades. But keep in mind, that was just for a single workstation. As a savvy business owner living in 1995, your story included a lot more buying and appropriating.
Nothing Was Easy Then
You thought about all the software that you and your employees needed. Then, you bought licenses for every computer you owned. After that, you also spent time properly installing and configuring that software on each machine. Once you got Microsoft Office up and running on Workstation A, which probably took an hour or more, you moved onto B, C, D, etc.
Then, you considered upgrading—something that happened on a regular basis. New software updates and came frequently, which meant that all productivity stopped while you (or another IT employee) took care of it. You had to download those updates over your 28.8 Internet connection to each machine, install it on each machine, make sure that you didn’t break anything … the list is endless.
If you’re the type of business person who actually needed to worry about things like servers and other equipment back in those days, that opens up an entirely different discussion. Add on top of that things like provisioning and dashboarding, and you’ll quickly wonder why you didn’t just cut out the middle man and go into IT as a profession.
Then, when you realize that all that time, money and energy was devoted to an IT infrastructure that was woefully out of date in about nine months, you earned the distinction of starting the process all over again.
Flash Forward: The Future of Technology Is Here
Thankfully, these are the types of issues that we really don’t have to worry about any longer. When you compare the average IT environment in 1995 to the virtualized IT environments of today, the difference isn’t just night and day—it’s much more startling than that.
Not only does this current level of IT virtualization bring with it benefits like significantly reduced hardware and software costs, improved server provisioning (not to mention deployment gains), better disaster recovery solutions and more, but it’s also a sure-fire way to increase your staff productivity across the board.
With a virtualized IT environment, you don’t have to worry about any of the issues that were simply a “cost of doing business” 23 years ago. You’re spending less money to get access to better, more powerful and more malleable technology that comes with reduced downtime, greater business continuity and a far more straightforward data management structure.
The Cloud Frees You Up
Not only that, but thanks to the natural transparency of cloud management today, you’re finally free from the restrictions of older hardware altogether. You don’t have to worry about assets falling out of date or depreciating too quickly because it’s simply not something we have to deal with any longer.
Oftentimes, people are nostalgic for the past—you’ll hear a lot of old timers start sentences with phrases like “back in my day…” or “I remember when…” They’ll proceed to talk about how things used to be better, easier, and more straightforward.
At the very least, when it comes to IT, you can be certain that these whimsical stories of an era long passed aren’t founded in anything even remotely resembling reality. That legacy IT environment that you’re running is so 1995 … and that is exactly where it should stay.