The trademark of successful IT has always been rooted in flexibility and evolution. While many of the methods in which we use technology have remained fairly static - entering, processing and reviewing data on fixed or portable devices- the concepts and techniques behind them have grown vastly in breadth and complexity. Cloud computing, big data, virtualization, the Internet of Things and mobility have brought sweeping change to IT departments which have kept up with the times... times which are in turn seeing an ever-increasing pace of change.
Rapid progress in the technology spectrum has meant that traditional IT projects are seeing change as well. Business executives are increasingly moving to an IT environment that is no longer focused on large complex projects but is oriented towards shorter, more sustainable efforts to drive change and innovation. This is known as "Fast IT." The goal is to promote efficiency, agility and innovation to enable IT departments to stay ahead of - and help promote - the rapid pace of dynamic change.
"To deploy Fast IT is to unify infrastructure to reduce network complexity and speed up service deployment," David Meads, Cisco Africa VP, explained in an article on ITWeb. "Fast IT has three streams: software and automation, a converged and consistent infrastructure, and a flexible consumption model which enables scaling in a modular way that allows rapid growth without compromising efficiency. The key principles of fast IT are 'simple, smart, and secure."
This translates to decreasing complexity, making the best use of intelligence to become more agile on the operational front and the improved ability to protect the organization by recognizing threats and thwarting attacks.
The article states further that "Currently, IT organisations spend upwards of 80% of their time and money on everyday operation or 'keeping the lights on.' This is because IT infrastructure is complex, unwieldy and expensive, often as a result of being hurriedly built without much foresight."
Technology leaders must respond to these challenges. According to Connected Futures Magazine, "in the increasingly fast-paced environment of global business, CIOs are being tasked with spearheading and empowering rapid, disruptive innovation through technologies that enable their organizations to tap new markets and drive greater efficiency and productivity, all while improving experiences for their customers, partners, and employees. Here's the problem: 70 to 80 percent of the typical IT budget is spent maintaining current systems. This leaves minimal resources for new capabilities and services designed to deliver strategic business benefit."
Connected Futures goes on to state: "Fast IT simplifies operations and allows organizations to move seamlessly through a 'fabric of clouds,' whether on-premise, off-premise, physical, or virtual. It establishes resources capable of processing data in motion at the edge of the network for rapid, informed decision making. Driving visibility into security across domains, devices, applications, and services is an additional hallmark of Fast IT... by implementing a Fast IT model, IT can potentially capture a 20-25 percent reduction in costs that can be re-deployed to address new capabilities."
Tech Pro Research would like to get your input on how projects are faring at your company and whether Fast IT is something you're considering or if it might make sense for your business or career. Please share your experiences, observations and views on the subject of Fast IT and how it applies to you. Respondents will receive a free copy of the resulting research report.
Scott Matteson is a senior systems administrator and freelance technical writer who also performs consulting work for small organizations. He resides in the Greater Boston area with his wife and three children.