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Is your IT having Deficiency of Vitamin C?
Guruprasad Murty
Vice President- IT & IS-Microland
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Headquartered in Bangalore and employing over 2,300 professionals worldwide, Microland is a leading specialist IT infrastructure, virtualization and cloud services provider with a global footprint. Microland's services address the complete IT Infrastructure needs of an organization through the SmartFutureTM offering which includes Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Virtualization, and Mobility services and the SmartNowTM offering which includes Infrastructure Management Services, IT Modernization Services, Assurance and Compliance Services and Technical Support Services.

We all know the importance of vitamins in our body. The body needs a minimum amount of vitamins and minerals each day to remain healthy and function properly. So what is the relevance of vitamins to IT? There are many factors IT is dependent on and these factors are commonly referred as vitamins. Without these vitamins, IT either won’t exist or function.

How many of you are aware that primates, including humans, and guinea pigs do not synthesize vitamin C internally. So we have to depend on external source for our daily vitamin C requirements. Doesn't this sound familiar in case of IT too? So what is vitamin C and how does it impact IT?

Rather than looking at just one C, let us look at 3 Critical Cs related to IT, i.e. Cost, Control and Change. Any deficiency in these 3 Cs will have a huge impact on the way IT functions and performs.

Cost- In almost all the organization IT is a cost center. First getting the required budget is a big challenge and then how and where to spend that little money is the big question. In most of the cases 70 percent of the budget is spent on keeping the lights on, i.e. maintaining and supporting the existing applications, which leaves very less for any new initiatives. It is also a well-known fact that most of initiatives have huge cost and schedule overrun. We invariably miss out so many hidden costs while planning for any project, which includes infrastructure upgrade cost, communication cost, third party license / implementation cost, etc. It is imperative that planning and tracking the cost is the most important aspect of any CIO's goals and objectives.

Looking at the current tough market conditions, CIOs are under tremendous pressure to reduce the cost, which has cascading impact on how the services are provided in an organization. This also has direct impact on projects / initiatives delays and cancellation.

Control- IT is known to be over zealous about controls and control is must due to many reason including customer's specific requirements, compliance, security, etc. As controls keep on changing due to change in the technology, business and process, we are spending lot of time in catch-up game. At the onset of new technologies like smart phones, BYOD. IT is struggling to manage and control the IT infra and this leads to data,
information and revenue leakage.

It is IT's responsibility to tightly manage each project and also provide project governance and controls to ensure that a project stays on track, in scope, on budget, and on time. In absence of any control I am sure you all know the nightmare you will go through. It is better that IT takes business and sometimes end users in confidence while defining the policies and process to avoid any pitfalls.

Change– We are living in a world where "Change is the only constant", whether it is change in technology, business environment, scope, people, etc. It’s a fast paced life and you may not get a second chance. What do you in such scenario?

The 2 Cs, i.e. Cost and Control, which we looked at earlier can be managed by you effectively but change is where you need your real skill, expertise and experience tackling it. Change is an external factor which may throw a surprise and you may be caught completely unaware.

We must look at each change very closely and device a plan to understand the change, its impact on the business, cost of this change, process to implement the change, etc. Any short steps will haunt you for your entire life. Change management may seem like an optional or expensive investment, but in the long-term it will always be less expensive.

We looked at a specific vitamin which impacts and affects the way IT is run. Do you agree with me? I am sure you will have similar thoughts about other vitamins too.

Let us avoid deficiency of vitamin C by -
• Managing the cost effectively by spending it wisely.
• Not being a control freak but at the same time not too lenient.
• Learning to live with changes.

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