Casting an IT blockbuster

My colleagues and I are big movie buffs. Every year, our sales kick-off event is themed after an action-thriller movie. In the past we've built our events around The Matrix and Transformers. This year our event theme was The Avengers and we celebrated the superhero that lives inside all of us! We've even produced our own Mission Impossible-style short film that highlights the chaotic situations our customers deal with every day. Like a good spy movies, the film was based on actual events and the names were changed to protect the innocent.

All of this got me to thinking about how the key components of IT today are similar to the makings of a good movie. Just as the title of this blog suggests, IT is dynamic and has many layers. All of these layers, or domains, need to work together seamlessly to deliver a good experience to the end-user. The same holds true for a good movie -- it needs to have a solid plot, a strong director to bring the plot to life, a compelling cast to give the characters depth, and a certain level of excitement to draw the viewer in and hold their attention. So, how does this movie analogy play out in IT?

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A Solid Plot = A Rock Solid IT Infrastructure

Any good movie starts with a solid plot. An interesting plot tells a good story, develops compelling characters, and creates situations that people can relate to. It is the foundation upon which a good movie is built.

Technologists know that creating a reliable, high quality end-user experience requires a rock solid foundation. That means having a highly available and well performing physical infrastructure -- servers, switches, and storage -- as a strong and reliable base upon which the application portfolio depends. Without this key component, the rest of the story literally crumbles or never sees the light of day.

A Creative Director = Dynamic Software

Just like the director of a big-budget blockbuster, the software layer of an enterprise infrastructure needs to be dynamic and adaptive while directing how the applications come to life. End-user profiles evolve and user demands can change in an instant. The software must be flexible enough to meet these demands at all times, while putting the infrastructure to optimal use.

An All Star Cast = The IT Team

Just like the cast of a great movie is a critical factor in the success of a movie, the IT staff has perhaps the greatest impact on the success or failure of the IT infrastructure and software layers.  Without the right cast, a great plot and a world class director can still flop.  Without the right IT staff, even the best infrastructure and software can be rendered useless.

Sitting on the Edge of Your Seat Excitement = An Enjoyable User Experience

What often separates the good movies from the great ones is the ability to create a sense of excitement and engagement. It's what gets our blood pumping, drives us to the theaters for $13 tickets on a Friday night and causes us to sit on the edge of our seats.

In IT, the user experience with the application is where the excitement lies. For consumer-facing applications people want to know: how much fun is the app? Is it easy to use? How intuitive is it? For business applications the key question is: Does it help you achieve your business goals? And, oh by the way, is it easy to use and intuitive?

Great user interfaces (UI) drive adoption across all forms of technology. They are the extra wow factor that makes the difference between good and great.  As we've all learned in the industry, eye candy sells just as great actors help a movie!!

In my line of work, it's the ability to tie the physical layer, software and application experience into one optimized package that keeps the customer happy. Silicon Valley can learn something from Hollywood and that is not to lose sight of the overall customer or end-user experience. It's essential that we in IT keep innovating to deliver a compelling user experience that keep customers satisfied.

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