Cloud computing, virtual desktops, online collaboration via social media, slick hardware and hipsters with fauxhawks may look and sound cool. However, like a hot tub outside a single-wide trailer on an overgrown lot, they are all flash with little substance. If your foundational IT infrastructure and practices have been ignored or are termite-ridden then slapping an ultra-cool coat of techno-wizardry on your organization will just add to your problems.
Like any IT pro who has done time in the bowels of an organization’s infrastructure I have seen executives cheer-leading the latest pet rock technology that has been showcased in the trade rags. Yet mission critical IT and business components like disaster recovery, business continuity, asset management, vendor management and standard policies and procedures are either nonexistent or half-baked and have been for years.
So who is at fault? Well, information technology executives are partially to blame. They have not communicated the value of having foundational policies and procedures in place to key decision makers in the organization. That’s their job and they aren’t doing it.
Senior executives are at also to blame. They may have relegated the CIO to the leadership “kid’s table” and that person doesn’t have any say strategy or final decision making. What is the point of having a Chief Information Officer if they have little to no executive authority? IT may not even be a part of the organization’s strategic plan. So IT is inundated with wave upon wave of executive sponsored projects that have never been vetted for Return on Investment (ROI), have a Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) or even seen if needed resources are available. I’ve seriously heard senior leadership say that “company X has this technology so we need to move on this now”. Meanwhile, they have never tested their disaster recovery plan, patch their servers in a timely fashion or have service level agreements with their vendors. [Read more…]