Last year at the 2007 Microsoft Business Intelligence Conference I had the chance to hear Randy Benz of Energizer speak. He was talking about the investment that they have made in BI services using SQL Server and Microsoft technology. It was interesting to hear him talk and I had the chance to speak with him later about how he decided to go with Microsoft technology.
Apparently he's not just excited about their BI products, but also the rest of Microsoft's products. I saw a note recently about Energizer's outsourcing of services to Microsoft. Many of their PCs and servers have been managed for 3 years and now Microsoft is looking to turn this into a business. Showing off some of the results from the Energizer agreement, it seems that Microsoft is looking to try and host software for other companies.
It's an interesting business plan and could leverage some of the knowledge that Microsoft has gained over the last few years running some of the largest installations on the Internet. Along with Google and their offerings, this might be a better way to derive some revenue from the World Wide Web. Targeting businesses, especially those that are seeing large percentages of their IT budgets being spent on "keeping the lights on" is a smart business move.
I wouldn't worry about all of us DBAs out there losing jobs because of this, but I do think that there might be less of the basic administrative jobs in server administration and management. Microsoft might start orfering more jobs in some places as they grow, but probably not as many jobs as might be lost.
Or maybe there won't be many jobs lost at all. You should be providing value to your company with your skills, not just showing up to work and making sure things are working. As server management, backups, checking logs, etc. becomes a fairly mundane process, something that might make some sense to outsource or at least automate, it becomes more important that each of us demonstrate that we understand how technology can help improve the business and we tackle projects and pilots that back that up.
I think you lose something from your IT department in outsourcing jobs to other companies, mainly security, but many of us don't work in areas that have high security requirements (think of banking or medical fields here). As a result there can be value to having basic functions handled by someone else if the price is low enough.
The rest of us need to then make sure we're constantly improving our skills and applying them to make our company, proving our value, and making sure we just "keep going," just like that Energizer Bunny.
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