Omar Sultan from Cisco wrote yesterday about the importance of broadening the skills set among data center workers. Here's an excerpt:
I believe that the IT infrastructure and the IT organization need to be mirrors of each other. I don’t think you can successfully transform your data center while clinging to existing notions of organizational structure (i.e. network gal, server guy). Some of our more forward thinking customers have seen good results by integrating into “critical teams” that span technologies. I think this is a best practice that would benefit many of our customers.
Full agreement here – you definitely want to foster a holistic perspective in IT.
What's interesting is that there are many, many admins who work for companies that are not in the Fortune x00 and they will tell you they are covering every aspect of ITalready. Amazingly talented people who get it from knife-edge OJT instead of cross-training. Some of the most effective effective and creative architectures I've ever seen are constructed by brilliant SMB people.
That's why it is so critical to simplify IT technology – people moving from skill to skill need to be able to understand all technologies with sufficient depth to make good decisions.