For me, it was the sense of amazement at how computers could relieve people of manual work assignments that would be better described asmonotonous drudgery.
In the early 80’s, the classic example of this drudgery was manually recreating an entire financial model on paper to accommodate fluctuating interest rates, varying inflation rates, or some other variable that had a ripple effect on all the numbers. Depending on the size of the financial model, the variable in question could generate hours (or days) of hand recalculations to produce just one alternative version. And of course, all this work was done with pencil & a calculator.
Then along came the electronic spreadsheet, and suddenly, real-time what-if analysis was a reality, enabling financial analysts everywhere to ditch their pencils & calculators for PCs & software. Spreadsheets not only saved people enormous amounts of time, they made it easy to instantly see the results of changed values, which led to a lot more what-if analysis, and presumably better informed decision-making. In other words, spreadsheets freed up people to focus on more challenging, strategic, and intellectually stimulating work. It’s long forgotten now, but back then, this value proposition changed people’s perceptions of PC’s from “nice to haves” to “must haves”.
To this day, the IT field continues producing products that free up people from grinding gruntwork so they can focus on more important matters.
One area of IT benefiting from a surge of gruntwork-eliminating innovation is the data center. Classic data center activities such as network monitoring, virtualization, security operations, help desk, and many other tasks are all being significantly automated today by a class of software called IT Process Automation (ITPA). ITPA takes the routine, repetitive IT tasks that techies secretly despise, and automates them, eliminating wasted time, errors, inconsistency, and costs associated with performing those functions manually. As a result, freed up technicians are able to finally focus on more complicated back-burnered issues, making much better use of their skill sets, and leaving them feeling far more fulfilled with their jobs.
When I watch seasoned data center veterans with 20-30+ years of experience get their first glimpse of ITPA in action, their sense of amazement rivals my own from seeing a spreadsheet the first time. Most data center operators have no idea that automation for their domain has become so robust, and yet so easy to use.
I suspect that after all these years, the amazement at computers relieving people of manual, monotonous, drudge work will continue drawing people to this field. IT process automation is the “must have” for today’s data centers, and promises to do for techies what spreadsheets did for financial analysts.
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About the Author: Guy Nadivi, the Director of Business Development for Ayehu, has previously authored articles on business and technical topics for media outlets such as Forbes & The Jerusalem Post.