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Because I am awesome at do-it-yourself home improvement, I recently had occasion to drive a screw into a water supply line running into our upstairs bathroom. It wasn’t a big screw, and because the contractor who built our house opted to hide all the pipes with drywall, I didn’t notice my mistake until water started dripping onto the garage floor below. And, of course, the rule my father proclaimed to me when we moved into the house held true: This happened late on a Saturday afternoon.

Several hundred dollars later I was a chastened homeowner who was very glad for the existence of on-call plumbing services. And it reminded me once again that plumbing is never “just” plumbing.

You probably see where this is going. In enterprise communications, “plumbing” is what you call the network if you’re trying to leave the impression that it’s no big deal. It’s just always there, and it just always works. Except, of course, when it doesn’t.

Sure, the conversation in our industry is moving toward sexier topics—your Artificial Intelligence, your cloud, your customer journey—so exciting! Who doesn’t want to go on a journey? Beats dealing with “plumbing,” right? But as Michael Finneran pointed out in the No Jitter post on 5G that I cited last week, infrastructure is what makes it all work.

The job of an IT leader is getting more strategic, and this transition is good for your career. But understanding network architecture and technology should always be a prerequisite for reaching the level in the organization where you then get to deal with the strategic issues.

At Enterprise Connect 2020, we’ve got a great range of sessions on everything from the plumbing to the hot technologies. We’ve also got sessions that will help you understand how these two factors intersect: Terry Slattery of NetCraftsmen is leading two sessions that will demonstrate how far network infrastructure has come: A Step-by-Step Guide to Automating Your Network, and AI’s Impact on Network Management. The technology of the plumbing behind your house’s walls may not have changed much in the last decade, but we all know network “plumbing” is constantly evolving.

Since this is our last newsletter of 2019—the last of the decade, too—I want to close by thanking everyone in our audience who has helped us grow as an event serving an industry that’s seen such impressive growth in both size and reach. When this decade started, there was no such thing as Enterprise Connect. Our show was called VoiceCon, and we had just begun grappling with the reality that our industry was poised to be a lot more than just voice.

We’re grateful to the sponsors that helped us grow and believed that Enterprise Connect was the place to show off their own visions of the future of enterprise communications and collaboration. But most of all, we’re grateful to the attendees--the enterprise IT, communications, and collaboration decision-makers who convinced their bosses that going to Florida in March wasn’t some junket, but was a great way to get better at their jobs, and one that would pay dividends for their organizations. Many of our regular attendees have become friends and valued colleagues that we turn to for guidance as we try each year to create the best event possible.

We’re looking forward to a terrific 2020, during which we’ll present the 30th annual edition of our show, the week of March 30 at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando. I hope we’ll see you there.

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

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