The End of IT As We Know It – And We Feel Fine

Remember mainframes? Me neither.

When I finished business school, the graduates who got snapped up for corporate jobs first were those in finance, and those in IT.  Us lowly marketing types were a distant third in the MBA recruiter’s minds.

For years, as I worked in and around the computer industry, I wondered if I’d have done better to focus more on the technology and less on marketing that technology.  But while my geekier classmates focused on ITIL standards, virtualization, and data center consolidation, businesses woke up and realized that the world had changed and IT hadn’t kept up.  So managers — many of them toting the smart phones, Macs, iPads, and open-source apps that the marketers had sold them through consumer-driven marketing strategies — went shopping for technology on their own.

I spent 2010 working in the new products development team for a global information technology service company — one of the five largest companies of its type in the world.  And they were scrambling to reinvent themselves, because they could see the handwriting on the wall. 

The days of IT-centered computing, where there’s a huge difference between big and costly enterprise applications and the technology people use at home, has ended.  The analysts talk about it as the “consumerization of IT”, but in many companies, IT is almost irrelevant as long as the network keeps running.  (If it wasn’t, how come so many companies are moving to Cloud computing, SaaS, and out-sourced data centers halfway around the world?)

I’m not even part of the generation of “digital natives” who don’t remember a time when they weren’t connected all the time through social networks, cell phones, and ubiquitous WiFi, but I know that the computers I have around my house are newer, faster, and more powerful than the legacy systems that enterprise vendors want to saddle me with at work.

The truth is that those managers who went shopping on their own are the driving force causing IT to scramble to learn how to manage all the PODs (personally owned devices) that are now connected to the corporate network.  It isn’t as easy as it ought to be (yet) to provide support, security,  and seamless connectivity for all the platforms that have found their way into the business world.

I could feel a little sorry now for the pressures on my friends in IT if they hadn’t made me feel slow all the years when they got the cool new technology first while I worked in marketing departments that were the last to get anything new and exciting to play with.  Those days are gone.

I’ve got a great marketing automation platform (The Distribion Distributed Marketing Platform) loaded with all the collateral, graphics, presentations, email templates, campaigns, web pages, landing pages, surveys, forms, Flash, video and other marketing assets I need.  I can assemble campaigns with just a few mouse-clicks, get near real-time information on which sales people are using them, what messages get the best response, and a string of other analytics.  Today, I used the system to send an email campaign, update the company website, post a new blog post on the corporate blog, manage the company’s multiple social media campaigns, uploaded a new video to YouTube, and publish the weekly marketing activity report. 

Today, I tried a new cloud-based PR service called MyPRGenie.  From a single dashboard, I sent a release to several thousand journalists, published it on two newswires, got it SEO optimized and fed out to over 5,000 websites, shared it on all my social media sites, and got tracking information on who viewed it.   Twenty-three minutes after I started, I had a string of PR appointments booked (including a briefing for the top analyst in our field), and a complete .pdf report on the results.

Oh, yeah.  And I returned the computer, docking station, and monitor that IT gave me when I started my new job.  I just don’t need them — I can do my job just fine from my iPad, Blackberry, and laptop, thanks. 

It’s the end of IT as we know it, and I feel fine.  Bet you do, too.

About debmcalister

I'm a Dallas-based marketing consultant and writer, who specializes in helping start-up technology companies grow. I write (books, articles, and blogs) about marketing, technology, and social media. This blog is about all of those -- and the funny ways in which they interesect with everyday life. It's also the place where I publish general articles on topics that interest me -- including commentary about the acting and film communities, since I have both a son and grandson who are performers.
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2 Responses to The End of IT As We Know It – And We Feel Fine

  1. I worked on an old mainframe HP3000 back in university days 🙂

    • debmcalister says:

      Really? I’d never have guessed that, with you being younger than I am! My husband remembers the TRS-80, and the Commodore 64, and mainframes, but the first computer I ever owned was the Tandy Model 100 notebook. It was the first notebook computer on the market, and the only one Bill Gates ever wrote the operating system for. I thought it was an absolute dream machine — the four programs (a word processor, a simple spreadsheet, email, and a rudimentary browser you could use to look at CompuServe or PeopleLink or a message board) were built in, and you had a speedy 300-baud dial-up modem built in, too. Not to mention a spell-checker and an 8-line display. Text only, of course. Haven’t had a machine since that gave me less trouble, or worked more reliably!

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