Mind your assets

If there is one constant that seems to be an ailment of the tech sector it is the fact that the same problems seem to crop up time and time again. “Never reinvent the wheel,” as the saying goes.

But while it certainly is good practice, the race to invent shiny new paradigms, not only shifts everyone to a new approach, it also means that the hard lessons learnt of the past are discarded, or put on the shelf, in the belief that the shiny new thing solves all the problems of its predecessor.

Struggle with innovation

And just as the pebble lodged in a pneumatic tyre will eventually come around to causing a puncture, the problems do not magically go away. The problem is in a new guise. The smartest people in tech conjure up an entirely new vocabulary to describe it. Server and application sprawl were replaced by virtual machine sprawl. Now those VMs are cloud workloads. Some are workloads running on hybrid IT or on hyperconverged infrastructure. Some may even be containerised. How do they all come together and fit into an overall enterprise IT architecture? It is now harder than ever to fully grasp what it all means. And the intricate dependencies that can exist between these computational workloads is very much analogous to days gone by, when people struggled with enterprise application integration (EAI).

This problem is good old fashioned IT asset management. It is not sexy. No one at the highest echelons of an organisation wants to be mired by someone nagging on about IT asset management. Yet, even though tech innovation seems to exhibit a high cadence, most organisations do not have the ability to tap into this effectively. Imagine watching a spinning top of innovation and comparing it to the sprockets, pulleys, drivetrains and cranks that power the organisation’s IT strategy.

The challenge for IT innovators is that today’s spinning top will become tomorrow’s cranks and pulleys.

Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, sees a massive opportunity to modernise IT. He anticipates that as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), IT spending will double from 5% to 10% within a decade. The majority of this will be spent on modernising IT infrastructure.

This is where the IT industry is heading; it is what company leaders want to hear. But very little can happen until organisations recognise the importance of tracking and managing computational workloads and their respective APIs (application programming interfaces) in the same way as software and hardware IT assets.

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