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This morning when I was feeding the cats, I accidentally dropped a spoonful of food onto the kitchen floor, and of course both of them immediately pounced on it. “I guess this is the new system,” George, the ginger tabby, thought to himself. “Food used to come in bowls, now it falls from the sky.”

New ways of doing things aren’t always this easy to adjust to, and seldom are they as welcome as the notion of our favorite thing in the world literally raining down on us from above. Usually change is more difficult, even when the end result provides us with something better.

This has always been the case in the world of enterprise IT/telecom, as UC analyst Zeus Kerravala, of ZK Research, writes on No Jitter this week. Zeus addresses the challenge that some enterprise IT departments are finding as the management of various systems migrates away from the once-dominant command line interface (CLI). Zeus urges IT leaders and their team members to embrace the change, just as past generations eventually had to embrace changes like the move from DOS to Windows and TDM communications to IP.

We talk a lot on No Jitter and at Enterprise Connect about technologies, and obviously, it’s critically important to understand the underlying technology changes that, these days, are driving trends like cloud communications, AI-driven contact center features, team collaboration, and so much more. But what we’re really talking about here is people’s jobs and how they do them, as well as people’s futures as IT professionals.

Longtime CLI users may rightly feel that they can work more efficiently via an interface they’ve been using for years if not decades. It’s always easier—and legitimately more time-efficient—to keep doing things the old way than it is to take the time to learn a new way. Zeus also reminds us of another long-standing belief: that mastering a skill that’s become fairly uncommon—and was always arcane to start with—can seem like a good job-preservation strategy.

In the case about which Zeus writes, the technology replacing the CLI-driven systems could, itself, be seen as a threat to an IT person’s job security. He describes the skepticism with which some IT folks greeted SD-WAN technology, which automates much of the network engineering that used to require human intervention. “On paper, these trends spell doom for network engineers—the stuff they’re used to doing isn’t needed with a modernized network, like an SD-WAN,” Zeus points out.

But SD-WAN is a great example of the fallacy of such thinking—because SD-WAN is coming to your enterprise, if it isn’t there already. We know this, because SD-WAN does the thing that almost guarantees a technology’s success: It saves the enterprise money. So this isn’t an abstract technical discussion, nor is it about “soft” cost savings from technologies that purportedly make end users more productive in vaguely-defined ways. SD-WAN makes networks less expensive.

We’ll be talking quite a bit about SD-WAN at Enterprise Connect Orlando next March, because the folks who present for us on these kinds of topics have told us how compelling their enterprise clients are finding SD-WAN. We’ll also be talking a fair amount about how you drive, manage, and embrace overall change within your enterprise and your IT organization, so that you and your team members aren’t left behind as things change around you.

And here’s good news: Registration for Enterprise Connect Orlando just opened, and our best rates are available now. Over the next several weeks, we’ll be starting to post elements of our Conference Program, including keynotes, breakout sessions, and special features like our Women in Communications program. I hope you’ll register soon (use the code ECBLOG to save an extra $100) and start planning now so that you can join us the week of March 30, 2020, at the Gaylord Palms hotel in Orlando, Fla.

Eric Krapf
GM & Program Co-Chair Enterprise Connect & WorkSpace Connect
Publisher, No Jitter

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