As the role of IT changes from functioning as specialists to generalists, many IT staff members find themselves in the role of a Business Technologist. In this new role, they serve a two-fold purpose. First, they must understand and document the specific needs and requirements of the business by interfacing with key end-users and product managers. Once they document these needs, they then map those requirements to a specific technology solution that solves them.
While this has theoretically always been IT’s purpose, this approach works better than ever as there are more preconfigured solutions than ever available. These solutions free IT staff to focus on establishing business requirements, mapping them to the most appropriate pre-built solution and then buying and deploying it as opposed to having to build it themselves. Solutions such as these are already available in the following configurations:
- Appliances. Appliances ship as pre-configured servers with the needed hardware and software. While the level of integration between the hardware and software varies, the ideal appliance will ship as a fully integrated solution requiring minimal effort on the part of the organization to set up and put into production.
- Cloud. Cloud solutions are available in both cloud computing and cloud storage options. Cloud computing is used to host applications with a third party provider while cloud storage providers host the data associated with specific applications. Both cloud options minimize or even eliminate the need to deploy hardware and/or software on premise.
- Client/cloud architectures. This is a popular derivative of the cloud computing and cloud storage deployment options. This hybrid approach to cloud implementations involves keeping some of the application compute or storage on premise while hosting other application compute and/or storage with a cloud provider.
- Converged infrastructures. Converged infrastructure solutions include all of the building blocks of today’s storage networks such as servers, networking and storage. These are similar to appliances in that they include all of the hardware and software needed for the solution to operate. They differ in that they can more easily scale to offer additional compute, network and storage capacity.
- Internet connected devices. This is part of the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) in which all devices connect to the Internet. This includes many items which individuals may not normally associate with Internet connectivity such as dog collars, meat thermometers, wrist watches and even toothbrushes. Connecting these devices to the Internet create new means for organizations to manage, monitor and utilize them.
- Mobile apps and devices. Individuals increasingly need the flexibility to work anywhere at any time – at home, at work or on the road. Mobile applications and devices give them the flexibility to perform almost any task anywhere, potentially with minimal or no IT intervention required.
The growing and ready availability of these various solutions make it logical, practical and important for IT staff to prepare to deliver on this important new role of business technologist.