Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Balancing old and new

When you have time to look up from your daily tasks, you find you come across an astonishing amount of new technology. I could easily spend my entire day looking at and researching what's out there, all of it being of potential benefit to my business.

How do you do spend time on the new and still keep focus on the job at hand of supporting your business' existing technology? Google does this by allocating 20% development time for its employees. This is a luxury most of us don't have.

The trick I believe is to quickly focus on how new technology will benefit your business (I.e. How will the iPhone impaxt your business? What impact might virtualization have in your data center? Will a wiki improve your teams productivity?). I recently became entranced by social networks, to which a fellow CTO asked "What are you going to do about it?". My task now is to marry it to a business project and objective.

I'll also strive to figure out how to incorporate the new with what's working with the old. I've heard so many technologists tell me they could do a better job if they throw a system out and rewrote it from scratch. But it's the smart technologists who'll figure out how to integrate the new with the old, maybe evn seemlessly, and eventually be able to phase out the old at the appropriate later time.

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