Hello and goodbye to submerging IT

Most IT managers are too level-headed to implement the latest technology fashions for their own sake. Just keeping the shop running while worrying about things like ERP evolution and maintenance, the high cost of software licensing, security hassles, making business cases, staff motivation, setting up storage area networks, wireless standards, considering alternatives to Windows, disaster recovery planning and implementing converged B2B and B2C systems are just some of the things readers on Computerworld’s Editorial Panel have flagged.

Obviously, with product innovation, leasing and warranty cycles and licensing deals, the industry will do all it can to force the pace. That is the business of IT business.

The industry butts up against IT managers’ limited resources and their need to plan, prioritise and make business cases for new investments. And here’s where the balancing act gets tricky. You may have heard integrators such as Dimension Data talk up the power of an IT infrastructure architecture, and how a coherent plan will allow you to slash the cost of operations and redirect money to new projects. But achieving this would be a major, multiyear endeavour and one requiring significant upfront investment.

For many there’s the make-do approach of investing in new initiatives where they can and leaving the older applications alone. After all, they’re still doing the job even if they are a bit painful for end users and the techies who develop and maintain them. These beauties include Windows 9x, client/server (two-tier computing with fat clients), IBM SNA and proprietary networks, tape backup, and Visual Basic 6. There are many others, particularly vertical business apps.

The question of whether you should “stay the course” or not with ageing but working technologies is discussed in Running on Empty from page 21. But only you should answer that question.

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