Friday, June 15, 2007

Top 10 Oxymorons in IT management

These are based on comments from Mike Vizard, Editorial Director, Ziff Davis Enterprises at Symantec Vision 2007. Would certainly love to hear from you about your preferences, and what you feel about these.

1. Systems management — Well, you can’t manage what you don’t know you have!

2. Storage management — Seeing the utilization rates of 10-15 percent today would suggest that there is very little management of storage going on today!

3. Security management — We have lots of cops for security and IT, but it seems there are no headquarters for them to report to!

4. Network management — Sending packets is like launching a fleet of trucks, hoping that they will reach somewhere, in some shape!

5. Applications management — Does anyone really know how many applications an organization use?

6. License management — Does anyone really know which users in an organization are authorized to use?

7. Business process management — You cannot manage what you can’t see, or for that matter, understand.

8. Asset management — How much stuff do you own that’s not listed in the database?

9. DRM — You have no rights as people will still use your content, regardless of what
you have to say about it.

10. Data management — The last one we have is, at a minimum, 10 copies of everything ever produced, suggests that data is managing us, rather than the other way around.

So, what needs to be done? The industry needs to move toward a more holistic approach to the management of enterprise computing that will no longer make ‘IT management’ the biggest oxymoron of all. What do you think?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Enabling confidence in connected world

According to John W. Thompson, chairman and CEO, Symantec Corp., the exponential growth in information had fueled equally explosive growth in infrastructure complexity. Simultaneously, it had multiplied risks to security, availability, performance and compliance. He was delivering the keynote at the ongoing Symantec Vision 2007 Summit in Las Vegas, at the sprawling Venetian.

According to him, today’s extended enterprise included employees, partners, suppliers, and customers, collaborating across time zones with laptops and Blackberries, on email, IM and wikis, just to name a few. We’re now living in an era of more collaboration and online interactions, an era, in which the user is in charge.”

Thompson added that the growth of the connected world had blurred the lines between enterprises and consumers. New business models, from 24/7, R&D organizations to global supply chains were introducing new ways of serving customers. IT systems were currently the essential drivers of collaboration, innovation and growth.

Enterprises needed to be confident that they have systems and software in place to keep data secure, and that they could make information available, as and when, and where it is needed. Finally, they also needed to be confident of getting the maximum out of their IT investments.

Similarly, customers needed to be confident too, that their interactions as well as the information they are providing online, and the various devices they were using were both secure and reliable. It was not easy for both customers and enterprises alike to gain such a level of confidence.

Thompson added: “IT leaders recognize that the convergence of security, storage and management is a reality in today’s IT markets. That the domains of security and infrastructure management are intertwined, and that you cannot separate security risks from the applications or systems infrastructure. As a result, we have seen a fundamental shift, businesses are now more focused on managing risks across their organizations.”

He said Symantec was now in a unique position to address customers needs to reduce IT complexity, cut costs and improve efficiency. Symantec is said to be offering the industry’s broadest portfolio focused on risk management to a wide range of customers.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Cogs in the wheel

In engineering, it is imperative that all cogs of the wheel come together, so that the wheel rolls smoothly. Similarly, it is imperative that all key IT processes in an organization gel together and work as one.

Imagine the nightmare that enterprises, small and large, would have to go through should this did not happen!

The first basic IT asset is your company's network, or the intranet. We have seen several times that a company's network's down for some reason and mails can't be sent or received.

In such cases, the organizations or the enterprises who are 'stuck' with this situation, are literally crippled. Mails can't be received, mails can't be sent out, important mails are missed, business-critical processes are waylaid, and so on and so forth. I've been part of this nightmare several times.

Once, the undersea cable snapped during my stay in a company. I don't need to add the problem we had to face for at least half a day, as service providers worked furiously to rectify the cable and restore normal service.

Some advocate satellite as the best medium for managing data transmission. Maybe! Some others cite wireless. Perhaps!! Then, I hear from many that there are issues related with security and storage. However, those would only come into play once your basic network is operational smoothly.

In telecom, they have something called five nines, or 99.9999, which means the network is up and running for this percentage of time! You've noticed how people go beserk and start cursing their phones or the network, should they fail to receive a network, or are unable to connect to the network!

What they don't know or realize is the hard work that's involved in setting up, maintaining and operating a network! It's similar to what sometimes happens in offices when the network breaks down and we are unable to send/receive mails.

Maybe, it would be prudent to first manage the internal network as best as possible, before moving on to bigger, better things. The cogs in the wheel got to move smoothly.

Friday, June 8, 2007

What it takes to win!

Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork! The 3Ds — dedication, devotion and discipline! Backing up each other, looking out for each other, and most importantly, delivering on the roles each team member is specifically picked to do. That’s the secret of ‘what it takes to win.’ And that’s what my team did!

It’s my pleasure to speak about my team of mostly newcomers — Ambika, Usha, Radhika, Rashmi and Shiv Shankar, besides, Sigi and Abhigna, as well as Denzil. This ‘young’ team has pulled off something incredible that people can only dream about. May I also add Idhries, who contributed in his own manner earlier, and should be back to carry on his good work.

This young team pulled off the magnificent accomplishment of launching the new CIOL Web site — which is actually a Web site hosting a whopping 15 sites! All in a matter of less than three months!

What’s more brilliant is some of these team members are not even two months or even a month old. What’s outstanding has been their resolve, determination and dedication to pull off this feat! With minimal supervision!!

Most of these guys have come from a print background. Some or rather most of them have never used a CMS ever before. Most of them have never experienced Web publishing up so close ever.

Nevertheless, when the time came for taking up a challenge, all of them were up for it. Some were scared, some looked hassled, but all were determined. And goodness me, look at what these guys have managed.

I really feel proud to be associated with such a great team. It’s such a young team that makes the feeling all the more wonderful! They know, what it takes to win! Even the tech team — mainly Mohan, Sanjay and Raghu — left no stone unturned to deliver and answer or help with the endless queries we all had.

I sincerely hope our hard work is rewarded!

One word of caution for my ‘young’ team. Do not get carried away by success. Stiffer challenges lie ahead, so don’t be daunted and face those bravely.