One of the fundamental challenges facing network professionals is balancing ongoing responsibilities with reacting to daily events. Many spend the bulk of their time putting out fires or responding to unanticipated business requirements -- often at the expense of dealing with the routine "care and feeding" of network operations.
Stories by Jeff Kaplan
The proliferation of on-demand services in our personal lives has made many of us receptive to a comparable set of on-demand services to satisfy our professional needs. For instance, as we've become comfortable using online backup and storage services to store valuable pictures or musical play lists, we've also become more cognizant of the value of using similar services to protect our corporate documents.
Not long ago, every major research firm and business consultant was telling corporate executives that IT was a strategic asset that needed to be nurtured and leveraged as a competitive advantage. Today's reality is that IT is increasingly becoming a commodity, which many organizations are still unable to use fully. As a result, in 2007 more companies will turn to on-demand alternatives, which will disrupt the IT industry fundamentally.
One of the fastest-growing segments of the IT and network industry is software-as-a-service. Companies looking to void the implementation and administrative hassles and costs of traditional, on-premises software are investigating an expanding array of Web-based applications. The meaning of on-demand varies among today's software-as-a-service products.
AS MCI struggles to emerge from Chapter 11 and regain the confidence of its customers, it seems as if every procedural business step forward is followed by a new revelation. The latest is that MCI might have accounted for inter-carrier calls incorrectly, dodging payments to both regional Bell operating companies and inter-exchange carrier competitors. Some press reports say the total amount involved could reach billions of dollars.
The holiday season typically is a time for budget reviews and strategic planning for the new year. Given the tenuous economic and political climate, most IT organizations are pleased to have survived the past year's challenges and are preparing for another year of the same. While few can afford to make major new IT investments, here are some actions you could take to improve your operations while meeting your tight budgetary constraints.