Networking

Don't waste your IT dollars


Enterprises will waste more than $100 billion over the next five years, according to Mark Fabbi, a Gartner analyst and vice president.  Organizations will incur these unneeded costs building the wrong network infrastructure and services.  Andrew R. Hickey documented Fabbi’s predictions in an article last week (“Network waste to reach $100 billion”, SearchNetworking.com, December 21, 2006).

Fabbi blames the spending on IT managers “…following methodologies of the past, such as the common misconception that bigger and faster equal better.”  Instead, managers should identify the right technology to meet business objectives.

This isn’t the first assertion by Fabbi that IT professionals often spend more than is required to deliver information services.  In 2005, Fabbi and Severine Real wrote a Gartner research publication in which they questioned enterprises that were eager to run gigabit Ethernet to desktops (“Gigabit Power-Over-Ethernet Switches Are Largely Unnecessary”, Gartner.com, ID: G00136801, December 22, 2005).  The point they made was that desktops were far from fully using the 100 megabit connections already installed.  While vendors push their customers to deploy the newest technology, managers should look closely at actual business needs.

This situation reminds me of a story I heard recently.  It seems that some managers had taken their teams into a field to clear it of tall grass.  The teams were working feverishly.  They made tremendous progress.  After awhile a voice was heard above the cutting.  “What are you doing?” the voice asked.  A supervisor called back, “we’re clearing this field.”  The voice responded, “Wrong field!”

It’s easy to get caught up in improving technology just because it seems to be the right thing to do.  However, it’s important to ensure that the improvements are necessary to provide services to the operational segment of the business.  Providing faster servers or more bandwidth is fine if projected usage demands it, but spending IT dollars on more than the customer requires might take budgetary resources away from improvements that are actually needed.

About

Tom is a security researcher for the InfoSec Institute and an IT professional with over 30 years of experience. He has written three books, Just Enough Security, Microsoft Virtualization, and Enterprise Security: A Practitioner's Guide (to be publish...

6 comments
Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

First time I've ever agreed even slightly with someone from Gartner. A veritable dancing bear. Question ? How does a mere IT manager, get the resources required to re-do the infra-structure? Did the IT manager want to do it? Do IT managers operate on the fad principle? Biggest waste of IT dollars, Gartner...

andrenym00378
andrenym00378

It is amazing the power of ethernet, finding a lit building.?gigabit ethernet is definitely the right solution over more expensive ds3.

Jaqui
Jaqui

is in busing MS software. use the free software available, that is fully as capable and save thousands per workstation and server on software alone. then, when you don't have to spend thousands on new hardware to run the new ms software, you will save even more money. and whatever you do, do NOT hire a multimedia web designer for your website, they'll break every standard and law affecting the internet they can.

Sensor Guy
Sensor Guy

After 36 years in the IT business, I fully agree with the author! This industry may be more driven by fads created by manufacturers and consultants than the fashion industry. Some of my most successful clients have been those on the trailing edge of technology, regardless of whether or not they even look at business requirements. Not moving to the latest fad sometimes saves you so much money that you don't even have to be completely aligned to business requirements to be a financial hero. There are several exceptions to this theory, however. First, there is an underlying expense to run an IT shop. There an situations where using a newer (mind you rarely the newest) technology will yield a lower TCO than your current implementation. At that time you should review if the new implementation can save you money and at the same time help you align/respond better to the current and potential future business objectives. The other time when you may have to bite the bullet and take a new technology is when you take a CIO or other management position and your predecessor had already started down that path and you must continue it because of sunk costs already in place. I have been hired many times as a temp CIO and found this to be the case. You are essentially a captive to the vendor that started the process with your predecessor.

Jaqui
Jaqui

nope, I make it abundantly clear that my only interaction with MS software is it's complete removal from any device containing it. I will not support the usage of non professional, non standards compliant software in any business setting. [ and by using software that does not meet all international consortium controlled standards, you leave yourself liable for damages WHEN security is broken. If all software meets standards controlled by a group like he ISO, then you can say the standards weren't tight enough if security is broken. ]

dwight.stickler
dwight.stickler

Hello, Although I have done no formal study on this topic. it is my sincere opinion that much waste does occur when companies, organizations, and entrepreneurs fail to integrate their internet marketing plans with their overall marketing strategies. For whatever reason, many organizations and businesses seem to create websites as an afterthought having no idea how they are going to actually use them to accomplish business objectives. Consider how many smart and successful businesses that have spent $100.00 to register a domain and build a "Front Page" Website, then it sits there for sometimes years and does absolutely nothing for them but looks pretty. Although it may be the mindset that the internet is for geeks, it may also simply be the attitude that "our business has done fine all these years without a website; BUT every one else has one so..." Whatever the case, when people realize that their pockets and the pockets of their businesses are becoming less deep due to IT mismanagement; they should start seeking experienced and knowledgeable people to bring into the project planning phase of their development projects.

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