Is Overspecialization Bringing the IT Department to Its Knees?

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted Jun 18, 2010


Remember the old school sys admins who knew where everything was and how it worked? Where are they now? And why, with the proliferation of teams, is it harder than ever to get IT personnel to work together? Enterprise Networking Planet looks at how this trend is impacting IT organizations.


The sysadmin of yesteryear, who knew where everything was and how it worked, is no more. Now, teams dominate the data center, and significant knowledge gaps are taking a toll.

What happened to the old "sysadmin" of just a few years ago? We've split what used to be the sysadmin into application teams, server teams, storage teams, and network teams. There were often at least a few people, the holders of knowledge, who knew how everything worked, and I mean everything. Every application, every piece of network gear, and how every server was configured -- these people could save a business in times of disaster.

Now look at what we've done. Knowledge is so decentralized we must invent new roles to act as liaisons between all the IT groups. Architects now hold much of the high-level "how it works" knowledge, but without knowing how any one piece actually does work. In organizations with more than a few hundred IT staff and developers, it becomes nearly impossible for one person to do and know everything. This movement toward specializing in individual areas seems almost natural. That, however, does not provide a free ticket for people to turn a blind eye.

Specialization

You know the story: Company installs new application, nobody understands it yet, so an expert is hired. Often, the person with a certification in using the new application only really knows how to run that application. Perhaps they aren't interested in learning anything else, because their skill is in high demand right now. And besides, everything else in the infrastructure is run by people who specialize in those elements. Everything is taken care of.

Read the rest of "Business Has Killed IT With Overspecialization" at Enterprise Networking Planet

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