Monday, July 9, 2007

Politics and IT don't mix

YEs, it's true, fire and water don't mix. IT and politics are almost as close.
Many company IT groups are run to just fix the problem, rarely creating the solution.
This has changed in the last few years, yet we still hear and read about companies that make a decision, then justify it on the public side.

Why do they do this? Why can't they just come out and say, hey Apple said they would personalize one in gold for me so we are buying 10,000 iPhones for the company.
Who cares if there is no great integration to our email and calendar I only cared about the personalized gold phone!

Now this may be reality for some people(I hope not) but for most ofus the truth is someplace in between.
So how can we play fair or cunningly at least so IT can trounce politics?
Well you could start by shutting the executive BES server down for 5 minutes to get their attention. :-) (just kidding, but you know the next time you need to work on a weekend..)
Now who holds the upper hand?
Should IT hold a company up because of a bad political decision? I don't know, but I would be willing to try it, perhaps in a different way.

In one client I recently finished a project their BES went down, HARD and so did a server of execs email. Bummer for them they were running Exchange and had NO way for the 100's of them at a major corporate event in Las Vegas to connect and they were very upset.

Being the Lotus evangelist that I am, aside from trying to help, I suggested in my report and to a few people that had they kept Domino as their mail server not only could I have rerouted all of them to their backup server (passthru options, cluster backup, many routes would have done it and even load http so they could webmail) in minutes, they might not have ever known there was a problem.
True story, ending was 5 hours later they got back on line. Estimated loss of business functional time in salary alone($45,000+) and lost revenue from the deals going on estimated because it was a 5,000 suppliers meeting to be anout $850,000.
That my friends is lost revenue, accounts, business, time you can add more to this cost.
And a cost which I would not want to be told by my CEO. Does Domino crash? I will not deny it can, but the built in and properly configured redundancy even if you only have 2 servers is excellent.
Did this change their perspectives, yes and no, some IT managers asked me more questions and we discussed possible scenarios, all of which I had covered already because they are BUILT IN TO DOMINO. Few of which had been done on the Exchange side, if at all possible because it required more pieces of the MS puzzle.
The SVPs were not impressed but then why would they, they either never sat in front of a admin screen or if they did it was too long ago to care.
Sadly sometimes it does take an emergency to make people sit up and think about their "corporate solution", politics have no where to go if your IT kills you for 5 hours.