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Artificial intelligence, virtual reality, software-defined networking, Hyperconverged Infrastructure, the cloud. These are all technological advancements intended to improve how IT systems and operations work, to give the business better agility and reduced costs, and ultimately to give end-users a new and better experience. Quite often, however, IT’s creators and consumers alike lose sight of the impact that these technologies have on the human element of IT.
The human element should be a key consideration in every technological development.
Technology developers cannot afford to forget the human element of the product equation. For example, many organizations ideally want to focus on business innovation, as opposed to IT infrastructure management and troubleshooting — directly building their top-line rather than recognizing bottom-line savings. However, the human element represents what many consider to be the hidden cost of technology, a cost that consumers must consider upfront when rolling out new technology.
Disparate IT infrastructure components, such as networks, servers, and storage, often require specially-trained and certified staff to support them. While on the surface, dedicating resources to manage and operate these disparate components may appear to be a technology issue, it is actually a human issue of operational complexity and cost. As a consumer, you should look for solutions that directly address the human element. For example, Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) solutions directly address the human element by tightly integrating the compute, storage, and networking into a single, centrally-managed system to solve the human issues of operational efficiency and staff bandwidth. In essence, every time a technology solution is able to improve operational efficiency, it frees up IT staff to focus on doing something else the business requires.
Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) solutions also help break down the stovepipes of traditional IT shops to empower organizations to consolidate their IT department roles using a more holistic approach. With HCI, there is no need for specialized roles – database administrator, server administrator, storage administrator, network administrator – and there is a renewed focus on a team that is nimble and able to address a wider range of issues. Additionally, organizations are able to focus on why they are implementing a technology — that is, what strategic benefits will come of the additional human bandwidth — will have more success than those companies that scoop up the next new technology without giving forethought to how it helps meet a specific goal.
So, when evaluating technology solutions, don’t forget that there are hidden operational costs associated with the human element of IT operations. The human element has given rise to new approaches, like HCI, where infrastructure consolidation and simplified operations are key.
Look for solutions that are automated, simple to use, and flexible; solutions that reduce staffing dependencies and ultimately lower operational costs. You’ll find that technologies that consider the human element in their design provide a much better lifecycle cost profile that those that don’t.
This article originally appeared in Plexxi.