Friday, July 23, 2010

How Many Times Must I Explain Myself

Before I could talk to the boss. - Forever Man lyrics by Jerry Lynn Williams, as performed by Eric Clapton

Do you prefer Boss Hog or..Do you prefer Bruce Springsteen

While driving to/from Tampa to visit John Vaughan for lunch. We were seeing a client and having 2 vendor meetings but due to server farm failure(not going to say it was a VM failure, but...) one meeting was postponed and I was able to meet up with John and it was nice to see him and I enjoyed the time, hard to believe we really only see some people once a year at Lotusphere.

One of my vendor meetings brought up something I stress quite a bit, which is, if you are not asking for enough money, you are not talking to the right people.

If you work in a company I know there are budget issues, but when something is strategic or world wide going to do XYZ, suddenly there is money. LOTS OF MONEY.

If you did this with your Lotus infrastructure, every year, you would not be faced with possible encroachment by other parties.

Yes, some will argue that is what creates the interest to bring in something new and cheaper. My reply would be you created your own downfall by not asking for enough money for anything probably ever. No, one can't go to the till every year, but at least every other year. Some argue with me once you set the bar so high you MUST go back every year else you become "old" and no longer deemed Enterprise worthy.

How much did you ask for to upgrade to Sametime 8.5? Connections? Domino 851?
How much did the Sharepoint "team" ask for...and how much did it cost in the end, sorry, it will never end, so a running total is fine.

See my point?

Now what did you use for an ROI? Did you? Or was it just another, we pay maintenance so we get it for cheap and we just need to schedule some down time this year or quarter?

When customers ask how much will it cost to do an upgrade I say the same thing every time and quote it per server. Simple yet efficient. Cheap? Well it depends on how many servers and how fast you want it done.

Sure a Domino server "could" be updated in 5 minutes I have posted videos of one in 3 minutes but the reality is there is backup time, there is reboots for OS patches from Microsoft or your hardware vendor or IBM systems, there is testing, there is possible website issues or email stoppages, Sametime integration, BES connections, FAX, backup solutions to test, and on and on. While I could bill for an hour, it is an unreasonable presumption.

Yet, many of you in corporate life manage your infrastructure, and thus your budget, on the "sure it takes 5 minutes" theory.

Scotty on Star Trek was famous for doubling the estimated time, yet miraculously always fixing everything in half the time, winning him praises and Saurian Brandy no doubt.

As you move up the food chain, money and budgets go funny. They become "Key Enterprise/Strategic Projects" or die a miserable death.

So don't just jump out there and demand a million or 2. Diagram the money. Plan for ROI. Get details you need.

Sametime 8.5 may save your company tons of money but do you even know how much? Do you know where to get those details? Long distance, phone bills, lines, equipment, time to delay a project because the exec you need is on another continent, webex costs, streaming media solutions that cost an arm and leg.

You can do this for any product but get the details, your boss will ask, and their boss will demand them if the request is to go in front of the capital expenditure board. EVERY request you make should go to this Board, within reason of course(don't try to buy everyone an iPhone as an example), otherwise you do not have an Enterprise wide solution, you have a legacy solution.

Read that last sentence again and think about your role, your job and your management.

Sad but true too often.

While many will say I am out of my mind, all I can say is think differently about your organization. No one ever got fired for thinking big, only screwing up big.


  1. Perhaps Scotty had read the 1.00 FTE Comic:


  2. That is a great comic. One rarely hears that from executive management, but usually one hears it from lower management.