February 20, 2018

The Other Moore's Law

My twentieth anniversary of being an IT professional came and went last year and I did not even notice.  A lot of technology has come and gone since then.  When I started, the idea of sharing printers and files via a server was a big idea.  The general philosophy of IT was to "protect" staff by controlling everything they did.  Honestly, it was pretty easy.  Computing was mostly a workplace activity and people were not very savvy so they welcomed help from IT.  The industry was governed by a law that predicted massive increases in computing power--Moore's law.

Gordon Moore, a founder of Intel, wrote in a paper in 1965 that observed the number of transistors in a densely integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years.  He projected this would continue for a decade.  This rapid growth in computing power enabled personal computers to run complex software.  In reality, this growth held true for much longer than a decade until 2012.

Flash forward to 2018 and computing is ubiquitous thanks to tablets and smartphones.  The general population is pretty savvy with each younger generation becoming more digitally native.  People like to be self-sufficient and if IT does not give them the tools they need to be productive, they will go out and get their own.   IT still needs to keep employees safe but they also need to enable productivity.  Microsoft's Jeffery Snover thinks there is a new Moore's law that will guide IT for the next ten years.

I recently watched a few different talks by Mr. Snover, founder of PowerShell, before the enormity of this idea really sunk in.  In his talks, he is framing this idea in relation to digital transformation which is my 2017 buzzword of the year.

I highly recommend the first 20 (of 76) minutes of a session from Microsoft Ignite: "Digital Transformation - a roadmap for platforms, processes, and people".  It seeks an answer for the question, "does Cloud change everything?".

The Ignite session above is formal, high level, and just the kind of thing you could send to your IT manager.  Now, if you are an old timer like myself, do yourself a favor and watch this next video,"How to Position Yourself for the Future with Jeffrey Snover and Jason Helmick." It takes place in Austin, Texas at a PowerShell user group. Jeffrey Snover (@jsnover) and Jason Helmick (@theJasonHelmick) walk the group through a rethinking of IT in general. Ironically, I do not think they talk about PowerShell in the first hour. The whole session is much more informal and has some frank language.  Honestly, it was a kick in the pants for me.  It made me rethink the way I view my value as an IT professional.  I spent the next couple of days coming to the conclusion that this other Moore's Law is incredibly important.  My favorite quote of the whole talk is:
You need to change your company OR change your company

The idea is that YOU need to bring change to your company and help them understand and if you can not do it, you need to change your company for one who does.

In other words, do not let your company control your career.  Be in charge of your own career.  Supposedly, people in IT are very comfortable with change.  We may be at a massive inflection point and the question is if you believe we are, are you ready to get in front of it?

Brian Olsen @sagelikebrian