The tech industry has experienced tremendous change over the last two decades and the only certainty is that technology growth will accelerate. Lockstep Technology Group Co-Founder Ken Dreon has been involved with technology for nearly 40 years, well before the dot-com boom when the internet was little more than a bulletin board.
While many experts know a lot, he has been around long enough to know that nobody can predict technology trends — the best you can do is prepare for and take advantage of them.
Ken recently appeared as a guest on The Closed Beta Project podcast, where he discussed how technology has evolved over time. Relating this evolution to his own work, he explained how Lockstep Technology Group originated as a consulting firm that he co-founded to help companies navigate the world of networking and technology. Listen to the entire episode and uncover new insights.
How Technology is Evolving Over Time
Ken Dreon has seen massive changes in technology over the past four decades, but he’s still not confident about predicting trends that span beyond three years in the future.
He points to Moore’s law as proof that technological advances are too swift to accurately predict over long time periods. The law states that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles roughly every two years. Technological advancements are strongly correlated with Moore’s law since transistors contribute directly to computing power.
According to Ken, a school system three years ago may have had 600 to 1,000 wireless devices, but the same institution might have 12,000 to 14,000 devices today. That means the number of access points must increase three- or four-fold in order to keep up with the number of connected devices.
The challenge for schools is ensuring that the increasing density of demand doesn’t impact the availability of connectivity. Further, in the event of any interruptions to service, they need to have the capacity to troubleshoot issues quickly and efficiently.
The biggest evolution in software over the past three years has been the move from hardware to cloud-based architecture.
Dreon notes that the transition began with a handful of companies setting up Microsoft Office 365 or Google Apps in the cloud, but recently, there have been more inquiries from companies looking to move their entire infrastructure over. Many cloud providers offer secure storage and other services.
Lockstep Technology Group is adapting to these changes by developing a complete management framework that addresses cloud-based security and compliance needs. With these systems in place, companies can avoid the need for a physical person on staff to handle these issues and be more confident that their data is secure from an attack.
Why Automation is the Key to Success
The difference between a network administrator and someone that’s playing network administrator is the use of automation.
Without automation, network administration becomes impossibly complex when scaled to hundreds or thousands of devices and accounts. Automation allows network management to be scalable, with checks in place to ensure that everything that needs to get done is done.
For example, Ken points out that Lockstep Technology Group works with many K-12 clients that require student provisioning. In some cases, schools may need to delete every student in the Active Directory, connect to the student information system, figure out what students are active, build accounts for them, and set the correct permissions to avoid any issues.
There are also many housecleaning issues that automation helps efficiently address on an ongoing basis.
For example, schools may need to build Office 365 or Google Apps accounts for faculty or create homework directories compatible with learning management platforms. Automations make it possible to accomplish these tasks in a fraction of the time with much greater accuracy than handling it manually.
Lockstep Technology Group takes automation a step further by using it to build assessments. They might map an entire network, gather the information from each switch, and go through all of those configurations to automatically collect diagnostics data. This data could be used to build spreadsheets that warn clients about any errors that might have been found.
Consulting is the Glue That’s Always Changing
Cloud providers might make it easier for customers to sign up for services without worrying about hardware configuration, but there are plenty of other concerns that still exist.
For example, many clients must integrate various platforms, meet strict regulatory requirements, and ensure that any hardware already installed on the network will work with the cloud components.
Consulting services will always be the glue that holds these pieces together.
Lockstep Technology Group plans to continuously improve their service delivery and map customer needs to engineering capabilities from the presale side of the business. The company is also embracing cloud architecture trends by developing its own proprietary solutions that augment these services with necessary compliance and security.
That said, the company is also working on new products and services beyond its bread-and-butter network deployments and virtualization. Many companies are seeking help with security and compliance issues — particularly small companies that have a hard time meeting stringent audits. These smaller companies are helping to diversify and expand its client base.
Analytics is also becoming a significant opportunity to add value. While there are a lot of overused terms in the industry, like artificial intelligence and machine learning, there’s real value in helping businesses know what data and metrics to pull.
Armed with this data, companies can develop the right relationships and leverage analytics that actually highlight and solve critical business issues.
The Road Ahead with Ken Dreon
The technology industry is rapidly changing, but Ken Dreon sees a clear path forward. While it’s impossible to predict what’s coming five years down the road, he believes that companies can prepare themselves by embracing automation and working with consultants who can help fill the gaps left by many cloud-based infrastructure providers.
Contact Lockstep Technology Group to discover how to effectively transition your businesses to a cloud infrastructure or meet strict compliance requirements as a small business.
You can also subscribe to The Closed Beta Project podcast to learn more about technology and its impact on the world of business, with episodes covering a wide range of topics. We talk to IT and cybersecurity experts, pioneers and influencers, about how to live and grow in the digital age. Sign up on Buzz Sprout or Apple iTunes today!
Lockstep Technology Group is an IT consulting firm that partners with IT leaders in planning, developing, and implementing enterprise-class technology solutions.