There’s a great line in the first Jurassic Park movie. Jeff Goldblum’s character says (and I’m paraphrasing), “You were so busy trying to figure out if you COULD do it that you never stopped to think about if you SHOULD do it.” I have always liked that line. Sometimes, technology is all about whether or not we can accomplish something, and the result is a complete dismissal of the purposes and the impacts of technology. Anyone who’s spent time in the world of technology has seen a brilliant programmer or engineer literally shaking with excitement over something that—well, sure, it’s neat, but let’s face reality, here—has absolutely no value over and above the accomplishment of making it happen.
For business, an IT department ought to be all about the SHOULD and not the COULD. We tend to forget that IT resources are just that, resources. A good company will use its IT resources to ensure business continuity, to make sure that the company’s operations are served efficiently and effectively with minimal (the goal is none at all) interruption. Sometimes, we let that goal cloud the fact that the resources spent to accomplish that are also coming out of the company coffers.
Case in point—the Salvation Army. Jim Vizzacaro, who runs the Eastern Michigan Division’s technology worked over and above what anyone has the right to expect of a technology officer in order to ensure the organization could keep up with its goals and demands. He and his team spent hours manually installing, re-installing, backing up, and deploying images to servers with the right and correct goal, to keep the money flowing to the people the Salvation Army helps. When they acquired Paragon Software’s Drive Backup 10 Server Edition, the department’s workload was dramatically reduced. The money the Salvation Army spent on hanging on could instead go to improvements, training, and other priorities.
The situation with the Salvation Army and drive backup isn’t unique. The IT Administrator at Purdue saw a savings of three hours every single day. That is three hours of the IT manager’s time. Three hours. I could repeat “three hours” eleven or twelve more times, and it wouldn’t lose the remarkable power of that statement. What would the average IT professional give to get three hours back? Dare I say…shudder…that three hours of an IT professional’s day is worth more than three hours spent elsewhere? When you consider that those three hours can go to improvement rather than maintenance, I think you can see a good case for it.
Remember, management of data is all about minimizing loss. That loss could come from downtime, data loss, system failure, data breach, or a number of other issues relating to data protection. Let’s not forget the hidden losses, the ones that come from inefficient handling of the processes that protect the data and the business continuity in the first place.