This year’s projects

It’s been a bit hectic here of late, several things going on at one time, and, well, if you’ve worked in IT especially, you know what that means. I figure I’ll start a series of sorts on how things are going, kind of a way to keep up with the things we’re learning as we move forward, and hopefully, get to a point that someone else might be able to learn from our mistakes.

With that said, here’s the top three items I want to keep up with here:

  1. Moving to a new network provider
  2. Going from on-premise to cloud native
  3. Modernizing our data platform with an eye toward innovation and being ready for change

Getting a new network provider

This one should be the easier of the projects that we’re doing. If all goes according to plan, and how things were promised (do vendors ever really tell you everything up front?) then it will be almost a turn-key process. At the same time, we’re trying to prepare for any of the little “gotchas” that inevitably pop up where something doesn’t quite work as expected.

Going cloud-native/cloud-first

Yeah, we’re late to the cloud madness that it seems has enveloped the rest of the world, but in some ways, I think that was a good thing. We’ve had the benefit of seeing where others out there have realized the benefits of moving to the cloud, and also seen the pitfalls associated with not having complete control of your hardware. Overall, this should be a good thing that will let us move faster and only pay for what we need, but at the same time, it brings a new set of concerns and issues into the mix. We’ve got to carefully plan how we make this transition, and try to read tea leaves on what the future will bring to make sure that we can realize these benefits.

Modernize the data platform and operations

Of all of the projects that we’ve taken on, this one is probably the easiest one to say yes to. The benefits to moving into a dynamic platform that can let you get access to the newest technology without needing to deal with server upgrades and all the headaches that go along with that process are worth it on it’s own. Having access to ML, new ways to present data to “tell the story”, and making it much easier to grow as we get more and more information are compelling reasons to start moving. Like everything though, those gains are a double-edged sword; it can become expensive if you don’t watch out for what you’re doing, and there’s a whole new skill set that will need to be grown to allow things to work how they should. These can be managed, and with some examination and planning, won’t be an issue for us, but that all depends on the decidedly non-technical aspects of knowing where we want to be, and how we want things to work. Communication with the business will be a critical part of this one, assuming they are open to having that conversation. Either way, it’ll be an interesting project to work on.

What comes next?

Ah, it’s time for the fun question. Where do we even start? How do we divide up the workload to make things happen? How do we prioritize the workload so that we get the important things done first, but also not risk getting stuck waiting for a path to open up? How do we decide on who to partner with to get these things done, or do we partner with someone?

I don’t have all the answers, and we’ll probably make some mistakes along the way, but I hope we are able to learn from those mistakes and keep going down that path and getting things done. One thing is certain, no matter how this goes: the world is changing around us, and we can either move forward or slide backwards. Staying where we are isn’t even an option anymore in this day and age.

I’ll update as regularly as I can, posting the things that are safe to make public, while trying to keep it both valuable to people that are trying to do something similar, and interesting to those who may have already done it. Stay tuned.