Friday, October 11, 2013

Gartner on the rise of the machines

"Come with me if you want to live" -
not quite that dramatic. Maybe more
"Work with me if you want to be in IT."
This year's Gartner Symposium and ITXpo featured strong messages around the importance of the so-called digital workforce. Defined broadly as smart machines that take over tasks and work handled by humans, analysts forecast wide ramifications within the next seven years.

The focus of the presentations were smart machines that totally take over human jobs, having especially strong impact on highly-skilled positions in the tech industry - including IT professionals. Gartner Analyst Kenneth Brant said CIOs that don't prep for the digital workforce will likely have short careers, and the IT profession will be hit directly with overdue impact.

The key advice for IT leaders was for them to get ahead of the smart machine trend and start investigating. Then determine the impact on IT professionals, and finally to respect the human disruption that will accompany the redefinition of jobs. Gartner expects the smart machine era to be the most disruptive in the history of IT.

Of course, at Uplogix we're already deep into the smart machine world. Our Local Managers connect to other devices and manage them like a Level-One technician would -- if they never slept and always followed the run book to the letter. While this isn't redefining IT as we all know it, Local Management definitely has an impact on many of the tedious tasks that are part of running a network today. We like to think that we're making today's IT professionals more effective by automating the routine tasks and serving as an onsite toolbox and assistant for administrative functions conducted by humans.

This fits into the Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies focused on "the evolving relationship between humans and machines..." While much of the discussion revolves around bio-related technologies like 3D bioprinting and neuro-interfaces, the three main trends are applicable to Uplogix:

  • Augmenting humans with technology 
  • Machines replacing humans
  • Humans and machines working alongside each other

The hype cycle follows a standard curve over time going through periods of increasing and decreasing expectations. Starting with the rise of Innovation Triggers to the Peak of Inflated Expectations, down through the Trough of Disillusionment, and finally rising through the Slope of Enlightenment to the Plateau of Productivity. 

Where is Uplogix on this curve? We'd like to say our growing customer base and increasingly wide distribution across different vertical markets puts us heads-down and marching up the Slope of Enlightenment. Maybe once we start putting in neuro-interfaces to our Local Managers we'll enjoy the view from that Plateau of Productivity...