30 Days That Humbled IT2:00 PM EST Wed. Nov. 21, 2012
From Superstorm Sandy to the presidential elections, the past 30 days have provided a treasure-trove of insights that a solution provider can apply to their business today and help them prepare for tomorrow. Here are some of the lessons I observed:
LESSON 1: What are you waiting for? Move to the cloud.
One of the biggest positive outcomes of Superstorm Sandy was that backup and resiliency was a nonissue for those who had already moved to the cloud. The very nature of cloud and the ability to have a distributed data center can help protect against disasters like Superstorm Sandy. And because it is distributed, hosted services and cloud computing offerings force organizations to think harder about their contingency plans. So move to the cloud and build out BRD practices if you have not already. Keeping a client up and running during a disaster is the best customer retention plan you could have.
LESSON 2: BYOD is here. It works. Embrace it. Don’t fight it.
Let me tell you CRN's personal story and what we did. Much of our IT and IT support is in Manhasset, N.Y., with our editors dispersed in Massachusetts, New York and California. We do not have hosted email because our corporate email, as well as our phones, were down for a few days. (Thankfully our content management system was up and running.) While corporate IT was working around the clock to get communications restored, CRN was still able to post stories and get our work done through cloud-based personal email accounts and cellphones.
BYOD is here, and traditional IT is forever gone. The best you can do is figure out how to make it secure for a company. This could be another opportunity for solution providers to add DLP, endpoint and mobile security, and authentication to the mix.
LESSON 3: Know what is at stake and what you have to gain or lose.
High-profile technology projects can help grow your business or get your foot in the door. Or they can go horribly awry, such as the case with Mitt Romney's Project Orca.
For those of you who don't know, Project Orca was a web-based app developed to help the Romney campaign track which supporters had voted and report back to headquarters from polling centers about any issues with voter suppression or fraud. It was designed to replace phone and paper get-out-the-vote efforts by sending realtime data to the campaign, which would then, in turn, allow volunteers to reallocate and microtarget grassroots efforts. Think mobility meets business analytics. From a VAR's perspective, if all goes well, this project could be a big break that brings a small development house to the national stage. Unfortunately, the project did hit the big time, but for all the wrong reasons.
Project Orca was a colossal failure, and much has been said about its shortcomings -- miscommunication, lack of training, poor documentation, server overload, and the list goes on. This is a good lesson for all solution providers who may have that make-or-break client. Make sure you do the basics, remember who the user will be, and deliver on what was promised.
LESSON 4: Technology can't solve everything. It is all about the human connection.
Humans are more resilient than technology will ever be. And when we are faced with a crisis, we always come through even stronger. People inspire in ways technology can't.
BACKTALK: Kelley Damore is SVP, Editorial Director for UBM Channel. You can reach her via e-mail at email@example.com.