Steven is Principal Analyst for Enterprise Networking at GlobalData, covering networking hardware and software for the data center and enterprise, including switching, routing, SDN, SD-WAN, and related technologies. This includes NFV for enterprise, automation, AI/ML for networking, location services, and the convergence of networking and security. Steven will also be covering the new edge, as the network edge evolves SD-WAN and IoT and the opportunities around re-inventing the edge as companies move towards digitization. Steven's technology career began over 25 years ago in Fortune 500 IT for retail, where he was a network architect. Prior to Global Data, Steven has served as Managing Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where he did his own testing and writing, Principal Network Analyst for Network Infrastructure at Current Analysis, and most recently at Cisco Systems, where he worked in Data Center switching, Cloud, and Enterprise Switching.
• Charts and figures that show explosive growth are unnecessary and induce customer anxiety
• Force anyone presenting to move on to the solutions
In the IT industry we have an ugly addiction. It’s about growth, security, and complexity. Growth in data, growth in bandwidth needs, growth in number of devices. Security issues around every part of IT from edge IoT to the core of the data center. The complexity of managing all these systems, the ones put in to handle the growth and the ones to handle the myriad of security vulnerabilities from bugs to misconfigurations. The claims that “never before have we seen…” Continue reading “Hyperbole Management Specification 1.0”→
• To maximize the investment in I.T. companies should have a robust training program
• Regular training will benefit everyone, as well as make the workplace run smoother.
“Never stop learning” – a pithy phrase, something you could see on a motivational poster next to the one with the adorable kitten clinging to a branch that says “hang in there.” But the significance of the phrase “never stop learning” is one that comes with particular meaning in the tech industry. The pace of the tech industry overall requires a learning process that can’t stop. Everyone in technology, from day to day techs, senior administrators, coders, management, and senior management all need to keep learning. But how we treat learning in IT is still outdated and is centered around 1950s-era notions of top-down control, where workers don’t need to know that much, management will know for them, and that knowledge is based on professional certifications. Continue reading “Never Stop Learning!”→
Everyone has brand and product preferences based on experience, emotion, and environment.
Pick the right tool for the job, even if it’s outside your personal preferences.
Marketing teams talk about brand perception and brand loyalty. They talk about mind share and name recognition. As individuals, we try to act as if we don’t have brand loyalty, but instead loyalty to quality, price, utility, or some combination of those factors. Despite everyone having a bent towards economic rationality, its clear that emotion, experience, and our peers and self-identified group play a much larger role in our buying decisions. As individuals, this is not really a big deal. But in the IT workplace, brand or technology preferences can have negative consequences. More surprisingly, these preferences are extremely strong and take on the aspect of nearly religious belief. If you find that to be an exaggeration, find your local expert Linux system administrator and ask them what they think of Microsoft. More often than not, you will be treated to a sermon on the evils of the Beast of Redmond. Continue reading “The Right Tool for the Job”→
• Enterprises and vendors need to resist the urge to spend too much time defining broad marketing terms when it doesn’t really matter.
• Get your vendors to narrow their pitch to your industry/use cases.
IT in its early days was driven by technical terms. Magazines and advertisements were overflowing with megabytes per second and POSIX compliance and IEEE specifications. But things changed and it soon became clear that IT was a driver of business and that non-IT managers would need to become an integral part of the decision-making process. The marketing changed to something less technical and more approachable. But sometimes the pendulum swings too far, with must-have marketing terms that get spread out so far that they become meaningless. Common terms become umbrellas for what need to be more focused discussions, whether it is from a technical or non-technical standpoint. Continue reading “Narrow It Down!”→
• Managing technology change is more than just about the technology, it’s about business practices as well.
• Stagnation of technology leads to technological debt, which costs more than money to fix.
Far longer ago than I’m willing to admit, I worked for a now-defunct retail organization in IT. That organization prided itself on two things, its ability to fulfill business needs to a high standard without relying on external vendors or organizations, and its ability to extend the life of arguably ancient IT systems. Massive technological debt was accrued, all with the best of intentions. Continue reading “Technological Debt is More Than Just Money”→
Knowing the social responsibility position of the vendors you do business with is important; what they do can reflect on you as their customer.
Keep an open mind and do your research; a vendor that aligns with your organization’s ethos and goals will help ensure a better relationship.
Corporate Social Responsibility – Keep It Real
Increasingly, customers are considering the social position of vendors from which they want to buy. Who you buy from reflects on the ethos of your company as well. Nobody wants to be doing business with a vendor perceived as evil or greedy. Therefore, many companies will not publicly reveal which vendors they use internally. The social position of your vendor is probably not even in the top ten requirements, but it should factor in somewhere. If you really want to partner with a vendor, your corporate ethos and attitudes should be at least roughly in the same direction. Continue reading “Corporate Giving and Social Responsibility – Should You Care?”→
Consumers are becoming aware that their personal data is being mined and misused. They will demand changes and control.
Companies, starting with IT departments, need to get in front of this trend and become more customer-conscious about personal data and privacy by giving customers control and choice about how their data is used before laws and regulations make it no choice at all.
The definition of ‘me’ is expanding. ‘Me’ used to be about personal identity and one’s physical person, perhaps even extending to the immediate family around you. ‘Me’ is getting bigger, though, and extends to a lot more things. ‘Me’ is now also anything about ‘me’ including metadata about me. ‘Me’ is the data I generate from just living, the things I do, the products I buy, the music I like to listen to, and the entertainment I enjoy. ‘Me’ is browsing habits, daily habits, the places I go, the things I stop and look at in stores; my preferences for temperature, color, and foods; even my face, my eyes, my fingerprints, the patterns of veins in my hands. Continue reading “It’s All About ‘Me’”→
• Cost sharing between vendors/SPs and customers can strengthen relationships in a difficult time.
• Calm and deliberate planning by vendors/SPs and customers is key to minimizing impacts to business.
The new tariffs on imported goods in China and the U.S. will have a significant impact on pending and future deals, both for service providers, vendors, and customers. The technology industry has a complex and deeply international supply chain, with U.S. and Chinese companies both utilizing components and intellectual property. Component price increases will lead to sharp increases in product costs. These increases will slow or stall deals as customers may wait and see if the issues can be resolved in a short time frame. Continue reading “Geopolitical Issues Roil IT Sector”→
Traditional thinking around campus networking as ‘wired’ and ‘wireless’ is holding back transformational change.
The business needs campus networks to be agile, secure, and operationally efficient, meaning wired and wireless networks must be considered as a whole rather than as individual parts.
We all need to begin thinking about the campus network as a holistic combination of LAN/WAN, wireline, and wireless access components, rather than as separate parts. For decades, we’ve looked at ‘wired’ and ‘wireless’ as separate and disparate buying decisions, sometimes even when purchased from the same vendor. As an industry, wired and wireless are still treated as separate markets: in analyst reports, in market shares, and by the press, customers, and vendors. Even the vendors on the forefront of combined campus networking still have separate engineering and sometimes even business units for these functions. The growing need to automate common tasks, apply policy across the network, and integrate security means we need an upgrade to how we think about campus networking. Continue reading “Traditional Thinking About the Campus Network Is Holding It Back”→