Every year I seem to make a prediction and an overly optimistic view of what is going to happen in the UK economy and the Technology industry.
I could this year spread doom and gloom with regards to it being 2013 and it has an unlucky number in it, but it also has a 20 in it. Numbers, predictions and optimism all seem a bit feeble when it comes to just getting on with things and pushing forward.
The danger is we all think this year is unlucky and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, people don’t spend, people don’t get on with things and we remain another year in the worst recession of my lifetime – and I have to watch more businesses and business people I have known for years go through immense turmoil as they cope with the consequences…
I proposed that tablets were going to become a business tool last year, Cisco had the Cius which fell off the face of the earth and then Microsoft’s Surface arrived. Windows 8 turned up as one of these unfinished versions of Windows, however supported by a very nice Windows Server 2012. Apple seem to be losing the ability to think of new things without Steve Jobs. I have no idea what Google are doing, but I ended up switching to Bing several months ago for search and I still haven’t stopped using it.
I notice my own Samsung tablet they still haven’t got the ICS update for, it’s still sat on an old version of Android. I have also read that people with 18month old versions of the iPad are unable to upgrade to the later versions of iOS. To me, this means that no, tablets haven’t made the transition into the business world. I can’t imagine that many businesses would be pleased that they go out of date, that quickly when you can easily get five years of life out of a PC. I guess I was wrong about that, although everyone does have a tablet almost, you find little actual work is getting done on them, that wouldn’t be getting done on a Blackberry.
So what am I predicting for the year to come? Well absolutely nothing, I think post-credit crunch predicting has become very difficult and surely if there was anything in making predictions then all the astrologers would say exactly the same thing each day, they don’t and professionals in any industry just don’t. I have been wrong on what I thought would happen, yes tablets have been important in consumer IT, but I can’t really pick one thing in business IT that has become the hot topic.
People have talked about disaster recovery, business continuity, information security, virtualisation and storage for the last few years. There have also been some nice products on the back of all this activity, but nobody has been propelled through the recession on the back of any one of these technologies looking as if they’re going to be a star performer. Unleashed IT work on all of those issues, and to be fair we have to deal with some vendors who switch from one minute having a security focus, to then storage and virtualisation, then back again. All it’s actually done is cause ambiguity in the market and medium businesses just haven’t got a clue which made up trend to go with.
The only thing I can predict for medium sized companies is that if you’ve not made a major investment in technology over the last 3 to 5 years or longer then you’re on borrowed time. The kit will be coming to the end of its natural life, your IT staff and IT companies will be working their arses off keeping it running and doing so in some very creative and unique ways, just to keep you happy. However, when it goes off, it goes off and their ability to recover from it may be diminished due to the lack of resources and equipment they have.
I don’t believe, but hope that in the following year then the message will get out there to managers and directors of medium sized companies to start asking questions of their IT departments and ask what they need. I am also not sure for us, that talking big with potential customers about disaster recovery, business continuity, information security, virtualisation or storage will do anyone any good – whilst they are issues to us techy’s they’re not really business issues at present. They will of course become business issues when there is a problem.
My advice is as simple as this, ask the questions of your IT department, how long has stuff got left, what will happen if x happens, how long would it take you to recover if x happens, how many days would be out of action for, what would we lose and never get back? Your IT manager will have undoubtedly have thought quite deeply about these things and to be honest, will love the attention (if he or she is any good) to address their concerns. They have most likely been feeling a little put out that their budget requests haven’t got them anywhere in several years.
If you don’t like what they have to say, it would be a prudent time to ask them to get costed proposals to prevent failures and meet the companies who they intend to work with. You’ll most likely find that the investment in new technology, despite its standard fare of causing teething troubles as it gets implemented is the same as most things, the prevention is always better than the cure.
So maybe I do have a prediction of 2013, it is the year of the IT Manager.