Numbers are the product of counting. Quantities are the product
of measurement. This means that numbers can conceivably be accurate because
there is a discontinuity between each integer and the next. Between two and
three there is a jump. In the case of quantity, there is no such jump; and because
jump is missing in the world of quantity, it is impossible for any quantity
to be exact. You can have exactly three tomatoes. You can never have exactly
three gallons of water. Always quantity is approximate.
the glory days of the dot com boom everybody was talking about ripping out existing
infrastructure and putting in fresh equipment. Out with the old and in
with the new was the rallying cry. When that boom imploded on its false
foundations like a bubble of quicksand collapsing in on itself it took the rip
and replace concept with it.
Today it is a given that companies have to optimise their IT set-ups. They have
to get benefits from IT, preferably tangible ones, measurable ones.
Which brings us to metrics for to optimise, first one has to measure. How are
these to be defined, particularly when all too often CIOs tell us that benefits
are hard to quantify but that they are still very much there. The way out is,
perhaps, to get the input of the functional head whose department is going to
be the candidate for an implementation. If a projects going to affect
the marketing department, the head of marketing is the best person to quantify
what he or she expects from said project. It could be something as simple as
an improvement in the rate of conversion of prospects after installing a SFA
system. Or a support lead asking for a reduction in complaint resolution time
after deploying CRM. Once you are in a position to measure the benefits (or
lack thereof) of an implementation, thats half the battle won.
Beyond measuring the success or failure of a deployment, whats important
is to think out of the box and come up with a solution that offers the biggest
bang for the companys buck. Technologies employed to this end include
consolidation (nowadays everything can be consolidatedservers, storage,
applicationsyou name it and there is sure to be someone offering a solution
to consolidate it), spotting and removing bottlenecks (instead of doing forklift
upgrades) and, of course, outsourcing your data centre on a build-maintain model.
Not only do we have features that talk about all these aspects of getting the
most from your existing IT infrastructure, we also bring you case studies that
highlight instances where innovative techniques have been used and IT departments
have done the unexpected and been rewarded with a slew of tangible and intangible
benefits as a direct result thereof. I leave you with the Network Magazine issue
on Reorganising IT architecture.
Prashant L Rao
Head of Editorial Operations