It's that time of the year where analysts, vendors and other prognosticators share their IT trends for 2017. But do these IT trends actually mean anything to IT pros?

I've been an IT trend watcher for years and 2017 is expected to bring a lot of focus on topics like security, analytics and IoT. Yes, you've heard these before, along with other IT trends like cloud and mobile. The challenge is figuring out how these IT trends realistically apply to you.

More importantly, do you have the budget to invest in security, analytics, IoT technology? How do you know if that will bring a reasonable ROI for your investment?

Moving back to the real world, here are some tips that IT admins can use to get on the IT trend bandwagon without breaking the bank:

1. Explore Free Tools

First, many vendors who offer solutions that fall into the trends bucket have a free option for their products. Free tools help IT pros to explore options and get familiar with the technology to determine if it’s pain killer or a vitamin.

If your free tools expedition finds one that’s both a pain killer and a money saver, you could make a case to your manager to try the commercial version – especially if there’s a free 30 day trial.

2. Automate IT Tasks

It sounds like a cliché but it is worth emphasizing that automation is the key to scaling on a low budget. You as an IT admin engage in a litany of tasks every day. If you can delegate the work to a computer program, you can get more done.

Related Article: Understanding PowerShell Toolmaking

For example, a simple script that generates a consolidated report amongst your various IT tools can save you hours of manual labor.  Or a “zero touch” imaging script that automatically prepares a laptop for a new hire can not only save time but also eliminate errors.

Such efficiencies can help you make a case to invest in the up and coming trends rather than asking for additional headcount.

Related Article: How Web Automation Helped Zgrum Medical Free Up Time

3. Consolidate and Economize

Finally, as your IT team is asked to do more with less, the end of the year is a time to take a look at your costs and find ways to economize through consolidation.  Specifically, take a look at the following:

  • Which tools in your infrastructure can be consolidated to due to overlapping features and functions?
  • Which of your software vendors offer licensing options that reduce your need to over purchase?

I realize that the IT admin's work is never done, but allocating some time at the end of the year to consider how you can be more efficient next year can help turn an IT trend into an IT reality.

Related Article: The Real Cost of a Network Monitor



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