I've been taking a break over the last month or so from my typically frenetic blogging pace.
For me, it's a good time for reflection, contemplation and recalibration -- all positive. Part of looking forward involves looking back over your shoulder, and acknowledging how much ground you've covered.
Digging back into my older blog posts, I'm often pleased to discover something neat I've written -- and which I've completely forgotten about. Fortunately, there's plenty to choose from: 1000+ posts spanning 6+ years, generating 2m+ direct page views.
Compared to many of my tech blogger compatriots, I think I cover a lot of ground -- not only in the technology world, but in the business world as well. I seem to have no fear in latching on to a difficult topic, and attempting to wrestle it to the ground as best as I can.
I thought I'd share with you a collection of my personal favorites -- the ones that have stood up well over time. If you're a long time reader, some of these will undoubtedly be familiar to you. If you're relatively new here, this is my weak attempt at a "Best Of" collection.
Thoughtful comments are always welcome ...
The Big Picture
There is a truly amazing drama playing out at the intersection of society, business, information, IT and technology. All the noise can hurt my head (or at least seriously confuse me) as I struggle to create a framework to make sense of everything I'm seeing.
But once I have a decent context to work with, it becomes far easier to place individual topics in their rightful place, and to better understand the connections between things.
My work here is incomplete at best, but I did enjoy sharing this synopsis of the current framework I use to understand many of the trends in IT today, as well as the key drivers behind all this activity.
Thinking Big About Information
Sooner or later, anyone who works in this space has that "holy bejeezus" moment when we fully grasp just how much information we're all generating and consuming. If you haven't had that moment yet, it's probably coming soon. I did my best effort to capture the impact -- and a handful of interesting implications -- in my most recent post on IDC's annual Digital Universe study.
Beyond the headlines, we're going to need entirely new classes of technologies to cope and thrive in the world we're busily creating. One linear extension leads you to the notion of "dispersed clouds" -- something we'll inevitably be talking more about in the coming years.
Behind that, there's the growing challenge of intelligently moving large amounts of information from where it's generated to where it's going to be consumed -- something I dubbed "information logistics".
The Big Data Renaissance
Historically, it appears to be a perfect storm.
New torrents of fresh data from everywhere. Cost-effective resources that can store and process these new rivers. Powerful analytical techniques that can extract surprising amounts of useful signal from the noise. And a growing realization that we now have an entirely new set of powerful capabilities at our hands -- and the race is on to figure them out and put them to work anywhere and everywhere.
I'm betting that decades from now, we'll look back at this period of time and think about the advent of big data and predictive analytics in the same sense that we look back at the internet, mobile devices, electrification and so on.
Our world is likely to be far different -- and far better -- in the near future as a result. I forgive anyone who's been swept up in their passionate enthusiasm around this topic -- because I am as guilty as most.
In the meantime, I've done what I can to share what I've learned about this space: what it is, why it's important, and -- most importantly -- how do businesses and IT organizations go about getting good at it?
The Role Of IT
Technology is nothing more than a tool; how we wield it is far more interesting. And big changes are in play: businesses everywhere are consciously (or unconsciously) constructing digital business models, and -- in this world -- IT becomes the business.
I've been exceptionally fortunate enough to study up-close how these IT transformations begin, progress and conclude -- both through my interactions with literally hundreds of IT organizations, as well as an up-close perspective with our own EMC IT group, who I would describe as post-transformational.
I've collected many of the most popular posts on the topic here -- a good start if you'd like to get up to speed. Fair warning: I don't go back and update older posts with newer context, so it can be a bit jumbled if you read things non-chronologically.
One of my most popular posts on IT transformation was a quick diagnostic: does your team fit the profile? Still near the top of the leader board in popularity ...
But every revolution needs its revolutionaries, and I'm especially proud of my encouraging shout-out to these key emerging IT leaders.
I've had people tell me that reading this post has changed the trajectory of their career, which is quite humbling for me to contemplate.
When transformation is afoot, one of the big questions is always "who can we learn from?". While there are plenty of good IT examples out there, the best non-IT transformation examples tend to come from the modern manufacturing industry.
Why? Because in the digital economy, IT is the new factory -- and it's far more than just a colorful soundbite.
My Favorite Enterprise Tech: Storage
I now understand why -- among all enterprise IT tech -- I continue to be fascinated with storage. It's where information lives.
In the digital economy, storage becomes vitally important in multiple dimensions: scale, performance, cost, location, integration, etc.
I took an opening salvo on just a handful of megatrends that are rapidly changing storage, but I think the best is yet to come. As software-defined data centers (SDDC) become more the norm, we'll increasingly think of storage and storage services as virtualized software entities, and not physical ones.
And those posts haven't been written -- yet.
Sharing The EMC Big Picture
I am fortunate enough to work for a very successful enterprise tech company with a *lot* going on. But it can be hard to assemble all the pieces into a coherent picture, so I do what I can to help fill this void from time to time.
Unfortunately, even my best efforts here are nothing more than point-in-time snapshots: things here move very fast indeed. I know people in the EMC ecosystem (employees, partners, customers, etc.) find these posts useful simply because they tell me so.
Warning: they're already dated.
It's Not All Tech
Despite what my online persona might lead you to believe, I'm a real person. Even though my role has been non-traditional as of late, I do have real-world headaches just like everyone else.
I do what I can to share what I've learned along the way: career, raising kids, etc. Maybe people will see something helpful here, maybe not.
And, of course, no "best of" collection would be complete without a nod to this incredibly popular post that I wrote on a whim, just as iPads were reaching the market. The post is interesting; the comments are far more entertaining.
As Always, Thank You
This whole blogging has been mostly a positive experience for me. I get to share my thoughts, I get to learn what other people are thinking, and it's largely good.
I only hope I can keep it up for another six years :)