IT and current economic state

OR . . . Deja Vue all over again!

If you’re a veteran IT manager what did you do to weather the last economic downturn?

  • trim staffing levels?
  • postpone new projects?
  • postpone upgrades (hardware, software, infrastructure)?

Will you do the same things again this time? Maybe you shouldn’t! Why? When budgets improved did you find yourself undernourished and struggling to get back to the levels you were at before the big hit?

Maybe you should take a different approach this time. Take a tip from your business colleagues. . .

  • use the downtime to retool,
  • look at new technologies and approaches that will give you a competitive advantage when the money starts flowing again,
  • change your operations and business model not just to survive but to grow,
  • focus on services and technologies which give true business value and eliminate the trash.

After spending yesterday reading and listening to Gartner’s ITExpo (October 12 – 16) coverage it struck me that they may have some good advice. They are suggesting that now is the time to ‘invest’ in technology versus the knee jerk reaction of just ‘cutting costs’. The stock market experts are recommending that now is the time to start some serious buying rather than wait until the stocks start their upward trend. When everyone is doing it – it’s too late. Warren Buffet has been quoted as saying,

“We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.” (Warren Buffet)

Now is the time for IT managers to get greedy and take advantage of the situation, not just be victimized by it.

Some good tips from across the web:

  • Focus on what’s important, not just now but in the near future for when the economy starts growing again – use this opportunity to eliminate the legacy technologies and systems that are consuming 80%-95% of your budget. When the sun starts shining again, you’ll have the cash to spend on ‘new’ things.
  • Listen to the people in your organization (IT and business folks) on how to save money and still deliver services.
  • Investigate and pilot new and emerging technologies such as cloud computing, social networking, virtualization at the server and desktop.
  • Look to outsourcing (versus out-tasking) some of your operations. This allows you flexibility in cost control.
  • Look to moving more of your operation from Capital Expenditures to Operational Expenditures.
  • Look to consumer technologies (lower costs, wider availability, broader knowledge base among users) to drive down costs.

And the number one piece of advice?

Use this as an opportunity to change how you do business. Abandon status quo. During times of turmoil and change there are winners and losers. Use the upcoming turmoil to show true leadership and become a winner.



Proposed Cloud/Desktop Model

Proposed Cloud/Desktop Model

Following is a quick sketch of a new desktop computer model. It combines the cloud (application and data) with desktop PCs (MAC, PC and Linux) both corporate and personally owned. I’m working on a full white-paper with details on the business rationale and the tech specs. I’m hopping this sketch will encourage some discussion out in the community and I look forward to hearing from you with whatever you have to say about this.


The problem(s) we are trying to solve…

1. access to applications…

    • the need for standardized enterprise apps;
    • implementation of current patches and service packs installed;
    • cost efficient applications;
    • current applications available when needed;
    • current application versions available when needed.

2. access to data…

    • reduce and eliminate redundancy;
    • data in multiple locations, some of which may be inaccessible when needed;
    • standardized data formats and file types.

3. secure data…

    • central repository of data which is secure from theft, intrusion and loss;
    • consistent backup of all corporate data available when needed for disaster recovery and legislative compliance;
    • confidential and private data on mobile storage (HDD, CD/DVD or RAM sticks) with no encryption.

4. consistent desktop software environments…

    • regardless of which computer an employee uses it will have the same look and feel;
    • a standardized environment which contains any and all enterprise software and utilities based on employee’s role.

5. use of personally owned desktop computers for corporate business…

    • allow employees to work from home;
    • allow employees to make use of personal choices in desktop computing;
    • create a secure environment for corporate data on potentially non-secure desktop computers.

The solutions…

By combining many new and emerging technologies we are able to provide solutions to the above problems. The problems are diverse but converge at a single point – people who need access to corporate resources. Typically this is via a desktop computer. Since non-desktop computer devices are more in line with modern web access models and in some cases even have constraints in access modes, we will leave them out of this model.

Links to Desktop Virtualization


Nortel Office-on-a-Stick

Desktop Virtualization Portal


Microsoft Desktop Virtualization


ZDNet – Compliance Issues

ZDNet – White-paper on Virualization

Virtual Machines for the Web Worker

Let me know what you think . . .