Monday, June 21, 2010

Client Budget Meetings and The Enterprise

I love when clients have budget meetings and let me assist.

Not common of course, but we all get our projects added here, some time there, but I advocate something bigger which takes some effort, but can be hugely beneficial.

I've discussed this before, but it's time to revisit it.

If you are an employee in a mid to large multinational company and you are asked about what projects are needed, do you outline the following and ask for it? If yes, I love you, let's do lunch, if not, I love you more, let's do lunch.

Let's use for this example a 5,000 employee company who runs a mixture of R6,7,8 with the usual Sametime, Quickr and probably BES for fun, oh and we will now include Connections too. Here is the list to think about:

Licenses - You probably are out of line with whatever IBM has for you, so you need to get that sorted out. Or worse, you are on R6 because you dropped maintenance, ouch, get it sorted out.

Clustering - You do cluster everything, don't you? You have 100% uptime as far as users are concerned right? You don't? Really? You like getting chewed out by the CXO and your manager and his manager? And please check the Cluster Database to make sure all mail files are clustered...to the correct clustered server...with proper access in their ACLs.

Hardware - Yes, Domino can run on your grandmothers Compaq Proliants from 2001 but seriously is that what you use still? No one ever complains about performance do they? Must be..

Routers/Telecom - Still haven't updated anything since 2005? You know there is this thing called VOIP which you are using that is probably eating all your bandwidth. Poor Sametime especially when you do that company wide meeting.

SMTP/Fax - Still only have one point of failure, I mean communication? What do you mean the fax server doesn't work with digital lines. Oh and you did set up TLS right?

Backup - Who needs this? Clustering works right? If not, we may want to look into this better, but if everything gets upgraded, guess what else needs it.

Compliance - Lawsuit? Who would sue us? What do you mean we have less than 3(Ok, maybe it's 10 I don't deal with it that often) days to provide the Supreme Court with details?

VM - Love it or hate it, it could save your skin, how many old servers did you have in that cluster?

Notes Clients - Yep, Upgrade Sites work, but not so well if you truly have a mix of clients and servers going back so far. Get to a standard place and then make it happen.

Standard Template - You have how many template versions out there? More than a dozen, some from R4?!?!

Mail Routing - You did optimize it all, right? None of those extra connection documents causing overhead issues?

OS Updates - Windows, RHEL, AIX, iSeries, etc.. they all have patches and for good reasons, don't tell the security guys you are 6-9 months behind on this.

ODS - You must get all files to the latest ODS. Performance benefits, disk space as well, just do it.

Resources - How else are you going to get ANY of the above done if you don't have proper resources?

Standardization - All servers run different builds, multiple Notes Named Networks, still no port encryption on some servers, open access to anyone?! Do y ou even know which ACLs need to be fixed?

iNotes - I shudder to think how many servers you are probably wasting right now because they are web only servers from pre R8 and do not provide the best experience to everyone.

BES - I met your CXO and they want Sametime on their Blackberry(go download my document if you never did it) and they want more mobility of applications(We can help you with this in a simple way, actually a few ways).

So when you go into that budget meeting, ask for approximately, $500 per user and then let someone work you down.

Yes, $500 multiplied by 5,000 people is $2.5 million. Don't try this every year of course, or maybe you should. This is how you prove your Enterprise class infrastructure. You can buy a car and as it becomes a classic car you end up overhauling the engine, repainting it, upholstering it etc. BUT unlike a car which usually does not provide a good ROI, you have a great opportunity here.

That is what a world class enterprise deserves to get budgeted to be respected by the execs in charge and provide a huge ROI to every person in the business.

On the flip side, some of you will argue this feeds the enemies. But it is all in how you approach this. Will post in a day or 2 on this question.

Don't believe me, here is a simple ROI. You can and will save every person in the company 15 minutes a day once this is all done. Which is 75 minutes a week or over the year 3,750 minutes or about 62.5 hours. A week and a half, per person. Average wage being $25 or more per hour means the $500 would be used up in 20 hours or less.

I just provided 3 times the return on investment in regained resources per employee. Soft money, yes, but with mobile apps and more efficient work force there should be better monetary gains. Also some people will now be able to meet various deadline for reporting more efficiently. Especially if you plan to use some dashboards.

Want a different view, if it works for your org, go to LotusLive for Connections(called Engage) and also get the SameTime meetings thrown in. A much cheaper option when you do the numbers (remember this is not a technical discussion about security or other issues one may experience when mentioning the Cloud, right now).

Now throw in performance times of backups, hardware costs that get expensed or leased back, better performance, reduced downtime, less headaches from IT to upper management(priceless).

This is not perfect, inside your organization there are many issues, you will say but we have old laptops or we need more people or are you our of your mind?

No, I am not. Don't believe me? Ask your boss's boss how much needs to be asked for to get a special budget meeting for an Enterprise requirement or what examples of "Strategic Projects" got funded and by how much. Don't forget you need a business sponsor usually to help you and/or divisional leaders that buy in to how you will make them look better by improving their weekly/monthly metrics. If you don't see how I can say this, again, let's do lunch.

If you only go nickel and dime your management for small potatoes of 10K, 25K or even 50K, your infrastructure suffers which leads to failure of communication between CXO's which leads to us getting called in, usually after some major IT issue to fix it all up and we get to charge whatever we want just to get it all back up and running.

Sure we like this road, but the road we prefer is when management never screams at you and instead promotes you for saving the company money(new apps or improved response time alone in processing older ones), improving the productivity and providing mobility to a work force that needs it.