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Embotics Cloud Management Blog

Generation Now!

With every year that passes, it seems like we expect things faster, cheaper and better. The same is BlogGenNow1.pngtrue of IT. As an end user, if I’m not satisfied with the level of service I’m getting from my IT department, I can go around them, throw down my Visa card and fire up an instance of Ubuntu at Amazon EC2 in minutes. I’m probably breaking a ton of security and compliance policies, but doing this is possible, and I get instant gratification for making progress on the tasks I’m trying to accomplish for the business.

The reality in IT is that you can’t do it all, and you can’t please everyone. I help a lot of companies tackle the issue of providing faster business services. IT needs to be competitive with the other options users have.  Or, if it makes sense, IT departments can include options like Amazon and Azure in their service offering.

Blog-GoodCheapFast-300x194.pngMy first piece of advice is to always keep it simple. You can’t meet every business and user requirement. The 80/20 rule kicks in here — satisfy 80% of incoming requests in a fast, controlled and repeatable manner, you’re off to the races. You could spend years or decades trying to satisfy the 20% and never get automation off the ground. If you’re architecting for one-offs and corner cases, you’re starting your offering with one foot in the grave. I’ve seen too many projects fail for this very reason.

Here’s my advice for getting started:

  • Offer basic services to start, like vanilla Windows 2012 and a flavor of Linux
  • Talk to your users to find out what they need
  • Find commonality in their requests, weed out the oddballs, and treat those as one-offs
  • Talk to your users to find out what they need
  • Crawl, walk, run — this is an iterative process and you need to be agile
  • Talk to your users to find out what they need
  • Focus on automating the 80%

It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t over engineer it in the beginning. Let it evolve and grow with the business.

Topics: Administration Best Practices vCommander