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”,, 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”,, 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.