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12 New Year's Resolutions for Windows IT Pros in 2012

The year 2012 should be a banner year for Microsoft. With what seems like every product going through a major revision, this year means more changes for the Information Technology industry than any year in recent memory.

But it's not just the version updates that are changing the IT landscape. Also in turmoil is the entire focus of our industry. Like at no point in its past, Information IT as a business practice is at the cusp of redefining itself. Automation technologies are coming to the forefront. The GUI is moving into the background. The activities we prioritize are themselves rearranging to put our customers actually -- and honestly -- first.

These are all good things.

With the turn of the New Year, and all these changes afoot, I offer 12 resolutions for Windows IT pros. See if any of these are on your personal task list:

  1. Learn Windows PowerShell. And I Mean Really Learn It. I said it with the release of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. But with Windows 8 soon upon us, this time I really, really mean it. If the sum total of your contribution to your employer today is clicking the Next button, then start getting ready for a new line of work. Get on the Windows PowerShell train now before the Windows OS leaves you behind.
  2. In Fact, Stop Clicking Next. Make the resolution now to begin automating everything you do. If you find yourself clicking buttons, checking boxes or doing anything more than once in a row, then resolve to automate that process instead of doing it again. Hate the command line? Teach yourself to touch type.
  3. Embrace Windows 8 Early. This new OS is so much more than its beautiful graphical facelift. If it's Windows XP you're still running, this new OS is your lifeline to a more secure operating environment. Get in early.
  4. Say "Enough" to Legacy Applications. Too many organizations get dragged down by their legacy applications. It's high time IT made the stand that those legacy beasts must go away. Whether they support minor fiefdoms or they're a major business player, there's far greater risk in coyly watching them age than keeping them around. Humbug.
  5. Stop Saying VDI When You Mean RDS. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) as "the answer" is so 2009. VDI as "an answer" is absolutely 2012. Lose the blinders. When an application makes sense for hosting atop VDI, absolutely do so, but only after exploring its feasibility atop the vast array of lighter alternatives.
  6. Prioritize Application Delivery. Long past are the days when managing Active Directory was one of our biggest tasks. The year 2012 must become The Year of Application Delivery, where we finally right-size our application delivery approach to the needs of our users.
  7. Resolve to Reject the Security Boogeyman. Our industry has for far too long leaned on the specter of security as a boogeyman for not doing things. In today's world of iPads and always-on VPNs, security is already baked into plenty we do. And our users are more knowledgeable than ever before. They know when we're blowing smoke.
  8. Make Computing Personal Again. In cahoots with the security "no" is its younger brother "lockdown." Locking down the desktop is a remnant of a security model long past its relevance. Every lockdown you implement just drives users to another Internet service they use as a sidestep. Embrace your users' needs for personality and free them from draconian ridiculousness.
  9. Stop Debating the Cloud and Get on One. Let me clue you in on the cloud's elephant in the room: Yes, you're going to lose your job. Now, you might not necessarily lose your employment status, but the job you do today will be far different in the years to come.
  10. and 11, and 12! Think Like the CEO, Think Like the CEO and Think Like the CEO. For every IT professional who does this and succeeds at delivering perfectly tuned IT services, 10 others won't and will complain when the industry passes them by. The days of IT professionals locked in dimly lit rooms behind closed doors are gone. It's high time we started thinking like everyone else in our line of business.

About the Author

Greg Shields is a senior partner and principal technologist with Concentrated Technology. He also serves as a contributing editor and columnist for TechNet Magazine and Redmond magazine, and is a highly sought-after and top-ranked speaker for live and recorded events. Greg can be found at numerous IT conferences such as TechEd, MMS and VMworld, among others, and has served as conference chair for 1105 Media’s TechMentor Conference since 2005. Greg has been a multiple recipient of both the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional and VMware vExpert award.

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Reader Comments:

Thu, Jan 12, 2012 Todd OH

Sony, the data-security firm RSA, Lockheed Martin, the email wholesaler Epsilon, the Fox broadcast network, NASA, PBS, the European Space Agency, the FBI, the British and French treasuries — and the banking giant Citigroup. What do all these organizations have in common? Along with dozens of other companies and government agencies, they were victims of massive network security breaches in the first six months of 2011. Other organizations who've had their security compromised in 2011 include NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, which lost confidential satellite data in an April hack, and InfraGard, an FBI affiliate that was compromised by the hacking group LulzSec, which also attacked PBS, Nintendo and Fox. To this list we can also add the European Commission, blogging platform WordPress, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), TripAdvisor, Gawker Media, speed trap warning service Trapster and the Pentagon's official credit union.

Thu, Jan 12, 2012 Todd OH

This is one heck of a headline & story... amazing the havoc these imaginary "boogeymen" have been able to wreak: Intelligence firm Stratfor is back online after breach http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/11/us-stratfor-idUSTRE80A1BN20120111

Thu, Jan 12, 2012 Jimers

Seems the the military, industrial, security complex does not like to be refered to as boogymen, cuts into their profits and self respect.Keep up the good work Greg.

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 Tim MA

The security boogeyman?!?! Apparently you have been living under a rock. From operation aurora to stuxnet to the US defense department being hacked, security threats are VERY real and very much a threat to every organization. Todd is absolutely correct. Greg, you are a fool, get a helmet and stay down!

Wed, Jan 4, 2012 Todd OH

Gee - it appears Mr. Shields failed to read the very Redmond Report newsletter that sent us to this article. Just a few links below was a link with the headline that identity theft is on the rise because of hacks by Anonymous. The threat is VERY real Mr. Shields... http://redmondmag.com/articles/2012/01/03/anonymous-stratfor-hack.aspx?m=2

Wed, Jan 4, 2012 Todd Ohio

This article is disturbing to say the least, not to mention, irresponsible. Any one who refers to the VERY REAL and more dangerous than ever security issues we face as "boogeyman" is someone with absolutely NO idea about the current state of IT. Every single day brings us new stories of a network being breached. Add to that the fact that there is more financial, health, and other critical & confidential information being stored in the "cloud" and on mobile systems, and you should know that now, more than ever, we need to lock down systems, tell users no, and take drastic measures to secure systems. To say that users are "more knowledgeable than ever before" would be hysterical if it weren't such an ignorant (not to mention irresponsible) statement...

Wed, Jan 4, 2012 Joe Manhatttan

This is precisely whats wrong with our industry, more garbage writing from people who lack real insight and skill set. It plagues the industry like a pathogen. IT's downfall started the day people embraced the lack of substance in an article. Lets hope this type of crap ends sooner rather than later.

Tue, Jan 3, 2012 Becky Nagel Editor, Redmondmag.com

Our apologies! There was a production error that took the (and 11 and 12) off of #10. Fixed above.

Tue, Jan 3, 2012

5 and 8 are connected. Its hard to make computing personal again when you are deploying VDI. You can still centralize PC images and do single image management while still enabling users to have personalization and work offline.

Mon, Jan 2, 2012

Thats only 10

Mon, Jan 2, 2012 Leandro

Great article. At least the first resolution (learn PowerShell) I'm already doing.

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