Tech Ed 2012 Orlando Expo Boots

Gartner IT Operations Strategies & Solutions Summit

The recent Gartner IT Operations Strategies & Solutions Summit that I attended this year in Orlando was very informative and motivational in nature, even though related to Information Technology. When I say motivational and informative in nature, I am referring to one of the sessions at the conference entitled, “Adapt and Ignite – Turning Change into Opportunity”.  This was somewhat surprising because you normally would not find motivational speakers at technical conferences. At least not the ones I have attended.

As an Information Technology Manager, I had the opportunity to attend many conferences including Microsoft Tech Ed conferences in North America, and my first Gartner conference this year.  The Microsoft Tech Ed conference in New Orleans will go down in history as one of my favorite conferences.  Microsoft has recently change the name of the Tech Ed conference to Microsoft Ignite,  but the same valuable content is still present. In my opinion I think it is far better now to attend, than before.

If you are an IT Professional working with Microsoft products, the Microsoft Ignite conferences would be better for you to attend.  At this conference Microsoft discusses the latest technologies related to Microsoft products and services.  In addition to their breakout sessions, hands on training is available at the conference to enhance your technical skills.  You will also receive insights into where technology is headed in relation to Microsoft products.

If you are interested you can sample some of the presentation that were presented this year at the Microsoft Ignite conference using the link below. I hope the link still works.  At least it worked when I last tried it.

https://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Ignite/2015

Information Technology Managers and Directors will also benefit from the Microsoft conferences, but Gartner conferences are better for persons in authority to attend because of their independent approach to research on critical issues that are encountered by these persons. Even if you are not a Manager you can still benefit from what Gartner teaches.  In fact at the Gartner IT Infrastructure summit this year, about 15 % of persons in attendance were non managerial employees.

Because of Gartner’s  involvement with a vast cross section of clients all around the world, what they present to you can be considered the truth to what is happening now  in the world of Information Technology. IT Managers, Directors and Vice Presidents, can use what Gartner presents, to help with critical decision making on issues that they encounter as a result of their positions.

Gartner IT Operations Summit Conference at a Glance:

At the recent Gartner conference,  the session “Adapt and Ignite – Turning Change into Opportunity” was one of the session keynotes that all persons attending the seminar attended.  In my opinion, the cost of the seminar was justifiable, just by attending this session alone.  Most of the persons attending this session shared the same views.  Even if you only attended the keynotes session at the conference you would have benefited.

The name of the speaker in the session “Adapt and Ignite” was Gary Bradt.  Gary is a well-known motivational and conference speaker.  His topic was based on one of his books entitled “The Ring in the Rubble: Dig through Change and Find Your Next Golden Opportunity”.

In his presentation he spoke about the sea of change that we are faced with, as IT Professionals.  The sea of change was referring to how fast technology changes.  He also presented us with insights on how to adapt to these changes. Education is definitely the key to adapting to changes in Information technology. He showed us through research how other industries are changing, and that IT is not alone.

In the field of Information Technology, the change is headed more to digital and cloud based on many of Gartner’s research.   The person working in IT that does not adapt to this change will be out of a job in the not too distant future. Well, that was Gartner’s prediction.  I tend to believe them though.

The company Block Buster Video was use to demonstrate how not reacting to change will put you out of work.  Netflix was demonstrated as the leader in watching videos from media.  They adapted to the digital age of change, but Block Buster videos did not.  Today, persons everywhere are streaming videos, not renting them.  If you have kids in your home, no matter their age, even they are aware of the digital age. Rather than watching regular cable television, they are streaming movies from their smart phones.  This was just one example that was presented.  There were many other examples presented.

Here is the link to Gary Brandt’s book at Amazon, if you are interested. The entire presentation was based on this book. I immediately inquired about this book and after reading the preview; I purchased it without seconding guessing my decision.  You can use the link below If you are interested in his book.

Gary Bradt’s, Kindle book

http://amzn.to/1HIAK84

Conference Agenda 

Even though the conference’s agenda was about Information Technology, the focus was more on personal and leadership development, for the attendees.  Each session was created and presented with the IT leader in mind. Cloud, digitization, and Bi-modal IT were words that became very common at the summit, especially the term Bi-modal IT.

Basically, “Bi-modal IT refers to having two modes of IT, each designed to develop and deliver information- and technology-intensive services in its own way.

Here is a Gartner link that explains what BiModal IT is all about: You may have to sign up with Gartner for a free account to watch the presentation.

http://www.gartner.com/webinar/3058820/player?commId=158431&channelId=5500&srcId=1-3931087981

Attendees:

IT Managers and Directors represented about 75% of persons in attendance at the summit.  Many Vice Presidents of  reputable companies were also in attendance.  In fact they represented about 9% of persons in attendance.  The other 25% of attendees were supervisors, vice president and regular employees.  A graph was showed in the opening keynote that was created from the registration details of persons in attendance.

Even though many sessions and presentation were presented at the conference the session about Shadow IT really impressed me.

What is Shadow IT? 

Shadow IT is the Investment in acquiring, developing and/or operating IT-related solutions and services, outside the control of a formal IT department.

Basically, this is when persons in the same organization bypass IT for solutions by going directly to the vendor’s of the technology.  All companies in this digital age of IT are faced with the problem of Shadow IT.

These persons are not bad at all. In fact if you follow these persons, most of the times they will lead you directly to where technology is headed.  The idea is not to fight with these persons,  but to embrace and help them to understand that we as IT Professionals are here to help them.

When I say embrace them I am not saying to accept their wrong doing.  It is better to know what they are working with, in order to better manage it.  These persons should know that they would be held accountable for the problems that are created, as a result of their actions.

Communications, media and services are losing the larger part of the Shadow IT war,  based on statistics from Gartner.  So we all are in this same predicament.

What do business leaders want from us as IT Professionals?  Business leaders do not use IT at times because they do not think we know what we are doing.  The idea is to bring back trust in our ability to provide the solutions that they need, to better do what is required of them.

Literally, you can’t fight a shadow, but you can turn on the light to dispersed the shadow. In other words, we should find administrative tools that can sift out unauthorized installation of software on systems in our environment, so we can better manage them. Shadow IT does not only refer to unauthorized software installation on computers though.  I am using this as an example from what I have noticed in our environment.

Gartner outlined in the presentation at the conference, five ways that we can fight Shadow IT. One point that really made and impression on me was….

” we as IT Professionals should engage the business as a Partner and not a competitor,  and that we should open discussions with the senior executives to redefine IT’s role,  in leading and managing the enterprise investment,  in information technology.”

Whether you are a Manager, Director or Non-Managerial staff working in IT, you should strive to attend a Gartner conference.  It is life changing and motivational. After you attend one of these conference you will begin to see IT as a career and not just a job.

By: Andrew Moss