In 1939, the movie “The Wizard Of Oz” came out and introduced us to Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion.
Over 80 years after it featured on the big screen, the “The Wizard Of Oz” would go on to become the most-watched movie ever, according to the Library of Congress, and the favourite film of the 20th century (if you ask People Magazine).
The film is highly relatable and touches upon our enduring values, a big reason for its popularity. But the reason we’re mentioning it here is that one of its characters, the “wizard” himself, bears a stunning kinship (job-wise), to one of the members of your own IT squad. I’m talking about the network engineer.
Well, they both quietly do their work behind-the-scenes—the wizard does his smoke-and-mirrors act by hiding behind the curtain, pulling levers, pushing buttons and turning dials. The network engineer, with his own brand of magic, remotely sets up firewalls, manages routers, and troubleshoots hubs and switches.
People may not see them, but the fellas who manage the network are very powerful. If a network engineer doesn’t want you to see your Facebook in the office, then you don’t have your Facebook in the office.
As IT lead, you know the technological wizardry of people working behind-the-scenes. Network engineers do so much for client businesses and organisations—quietly managing connectivity of the whole infrastructure—unseen.
But talking of what is visible and not, the following network-related phenomena should be on the crosshairs of every forward-looking IT manager. He should prepare his team for the game-changing effects of these five major trends.
Here they are:
Trend#1: Newly Remote Companies and Organisations
Truth is, even before COVID-19 hit, things like network virtualisation was already heating up. But when the pandemic struck at the heart of companies and businesses, it smacked them with the idea of remote work—of having a distributed workforce that can continue to deliver value (come viruses or high water).
In the coming months, more and more groups will convert and be baptised into the church of remote work—even after the vaccine. Let’s just say the office Christmas party might be a little bit different this year.
Remote work as a “business continuity” response to COVID is rapidly being tested and implemented in all levels all over the world.
Twitter, for its part, announced that their employees can continue to work remotely—forever. (They must have put two and two together and saw the huge savings of the distributed workforce model, realising, “Hey, our business is doing great, even when the lights at the office were never switched on this month.)
According to Forbes, and contrary to dated beliefs, remote work positively impacts your company’s Productivity, Performance, Engagement, Retention, and Profitability.
With technological advancements like SD-WAN and Hybrid Cloud computing on the ready, your network engineers will have their hands busy with this transition to the remote model of work.
Trend #2: The Evolving Role of the Network Engineer
The Wizard of Oz might have been playing with antiquated bells-and-whistles, but today’s network guy has an array of formidable tools that allow for significant work upgrades.
When a worker’s tools change, the nature of that work change. Because of the advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning, uber “smart” networks will be the standard. This means many of the tasks, like rerouting and root cause analysis can now be automated. Coupled with continued “virtualisation” and the declining human intervention on routine tasks, efficiencies and the accuracies of the system shoot upwards.
Network engineers of old could only wish they’ve been born a decade later. Because this time, decision points are awashed with more data than they can handle. Predictive analytics will become bread-and-butter, and network custodians can troubleshoot problems even before they happen.
Today’s network engineers can spend more time on the design and more creative aspects of the job.
Trend#3: The Continued Rise Of Intent-Based Networking
The concept for IBN or Intent-Based Networking has been around for a couple of years. It has gone from bleeding edge to the leading edge. The idea is to have a network that understands “intent” and have the whole network respond to a stated goal automatically, uniformly and consistently. It’s like having a “Please Tidy Up Room” sign outside your hotel door but leaving to the staff all the details about what it is you want: a made-up bed, fresh sheets, clean bath, and the trash taken out.
In the network scenario, keeping things agile and responsive for all types of users and events is often complex.
But in the last 3 years, developments in AI and ML, as well as in 5G and Wi-fi 6, has resulted in a convergence that will take Intent-Based Networking to a whole new level. Managing the network has become more intuitive. In other words, if the network is a brain...it just got a whole lot smarter!
Trend# 4: Big Data Bulks Up
According to IBM, 90% of all the data available on earth today has been created just in the last two years.
This exponential trend will continue in the years to come. With the rise of IoT (Internet of Things) where “smart” devices keep count and track every event in our lives, big data will only become bigger.
The best thing about this is that with the rise of devices, algorithms, and sensors that can create sophisticated data from simple events like the number of times we open our refrigerators, we now have very powerful tools to process and make sense of the data. In 2012 (a very long time ago in tech years), we’ve only been able to process 0.5% of the data available then. In 2020, it is said that we can analyse as much as 37%.
Hadoop and other distributed system solutions will help your network engineer deal with the 5 V’s of big data: Volume, Variety, Velocity, Veracity, and Value.
Trend #5: Migration To The “Edge”
There’s a twin trend that’s happening in tech today, and they’re complete opposites of each other. One is represented by big players like Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services. They are the cloud computing component that we all know. With cloud computing, data is pushed into a single and centralised location.
The other trend is that of decentralisation—where assets are distributed across different locations.
Not only is decentralisation happening on so many levels—like with Blockchain and Bitcoin, and the decentralisation of the firm through remote work—there’s a lot of attention being put on the “edge” right now.
The “edge” is where the end-users of a software, service, or app are. Because assets are nearer the users, lower latencies, and increased functionality is achieved—especially for time-sensitive data. Edge computing will make fundamental changes to network management.
As an IT manager leading a team of technological wizards, you should be agile enough for both developments.
In the coming months, there will be an explosion in demand not only for network engineers but also for system administrators, software, and mobile developers. We at Kinetic are specially positioned to find you the best tech talents at a fraction of the price. Through remote staffing, your organisation can have that competitive edge in this age of COVID.
Your “Wizard of Oz” could be working not in the next room, but perhaps a continent away.
Kinetic Innovative Staffing has been providing hundreds of companies in the Asia Pacific, North America, and Europe with professionals working remotely from the Philippines since 2013. Get in touch to know more.