There is a lot that is new for members of the Next Generation Communications Community, and not just the change in the calendar year. As readers are aware, there is also the new Nokia, thanks to the completion of its acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert). And, while we are in the early stages of what changes will be taking place as the new Nokia reveals its structure, one thing that is both new and old is that the “New Guy” series is in the midst of its rollout of its second season.
Just as a gentle reminder, the series chronicles the trials, tribulations and triumphs of mythical large enterprise Kromacom’s CIO Alex Warner's IT transformation quest.
I will admit that, as with several of my favorite streamed video programs, I am playing a bit of catch-up and have indulged in more than a bit of personal and professional binge watching. In fact, while the New Guy season has just been updated with the release of episode 5, I just had a chance to catch up with the first two episodes and thought it would be a good time to see what is on Alex’s plate. In addition, I must also admit that I like binge watching, and as with your favorite entertainment videos this is a case where it really helps to start from the beginning.
With that as context, and with the caveat that this should be taken as a spoiler alert, below is a synopsis of what Alex has been confronting as he attempts to fulfill his mandate to fix Kromacom’s IT department. It should also be remembered that Kromacom is a 60,000 person global enterprise whose IT operations had lost their way and that Alex’s mission in many ways is the IT equivalent of changing the engines on a plane when it is at 35,000 feet, and doing so without disrupting anything.
The good news in this season is that Alex has been successful on several fronts. He is now actually taking questions for professional colleagues as to his secrets, which is where this season picks up.
Episode 1: Connecting the Dots
The need for speed, especially in the connecting of branch offices to the enterprise data centers, has become literally and figuratively mission critical. In short, the need for speed as well as the need for high-performance, secure connectivity has become essential in assuring the efficiency of enterprises of all sizes around the world. And, as the world becomes ever more data center-centric the criticality of having an agile and cost-effective way to provide the requisite connectivity and the ability to control and monitor it is increasing exponentially as data traffic continues to explode.
Alex is asked about how he solved the data center to branch connectivity challenges. His answer comes in two parts. The first was to ask what would be needed from a next generation wide area networking solution including such things as requirements for faster onboarding of new branches and sites, more flexibility and lower costs. The second,was the solution, Software-Defined WAN. The benefits cited were: abstraction of business services from the network transport, centralization of network functions, with more automation and dynamic control, and policy-based WAN management. Put concisely, SD-WAN to the rescue.
Episode 2: Always Sunny in IT
Alex gets asked about how to deal with one of the major trends impacting enterprise, i.e., what to do about the virtualization of work in terms of things like getting control over third-party apps, handling the challenges of BYOD and shadow IT, and dodging obstacles that historically have arisen because of vendor desires to lock-in their solutions with proprietary implementations. Without going into the details Alex’s answer is to go “Open”.
For those interested, you can download the New Guy eBook, which provides more granularity on Alex’s answers. You can also binge on and watch episodes 3, 4 and 5, and there is even a video of how the series was made which is fascinating. With snow on the way this coming weekend here in the Northeast part of the U.S. I think I may take a break from almost non-stop Downton Abby viewing and check in with Alex. Let’s just say a New Year, but not a bad time to spend it with what has become an old and highly informative friend.
Edited by Kyle Piscioniere