IT Departments Don’t Have to Be Fire Fighters

It is so easy to sit back and only repair technology problems. When a server fails – you replace it. When software crashes, you reinstall it. I could go on. However, smart businesses, those that will leverage technology as a tool, ensure that they can proactively utilize technology as a TOOL.
Instead of using your IT department (or IT Guy / Girl) as a “break-fix” Asprin, use them as a well balanced meal. Meaning, don’t just have them waste time putting out fires, they should be STRATEGICALLY THINKING of how to most effectively use technology in your business.
Information Week writes GHY International shows how companies don’t have to be big to use advanced data center tools to get IT maintenance costs under control. GHY, an import/export broker, has a small IT staff that was spending 98% of its budget on operations and maintenance, making it impossible to launch new technology initiatives, VP of IT Nigel Fortlage says. “We got to a point of total frustration, where we were doing nothing as an IT department,” Fortlage says. It was costly to the company–and killing morale.
GHY got into that jam by dealing with IT problems on a piecemeal, reactive basis, he says. Every time a problem cropped up, the easy answer was to throw a new server or software program into the mix. The result was a hodgepodge of systems that required lots of time to manage. Options available at that point included doubling the number of servers or doubling the size of the IT team, but there wasn’t money available to do either.
Fortlage consolidated seven Linux, Windows, and Unix servers onto one four-processor IBM iSeries 550 server, which was partitioned into 17 virtualized environments. Half of the virtual servers run Novell’s Suse Linux Enterprise Server 9; the other half run Windows 2000, AIX, and IBM’s i5 operating system. The consolidation helped GHY cut its IT budget by 14%, giving the IT team credibility to add a person to the help desk. “It wasn’t a hard sell,” Fortlage says.