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CIO Upfront: 'If this were new, what would you do?'

Stuart Haselden | July 29, 2014
Stuart Haselden, director of IT services at Victoria University of Wellington, suggests organisations should ask this question when making important decisions.

Stuart Haselden, director of IT services at Victoria University of Wellington, suggests organisations should ask this question when making important decisions.

Here's a question you should ask yourself: How would you run your business if it were brand new - looking at IT, HR, finance, marketing — everything?

In many organisations we continue to run our operations the same way because of 'legacy' issues. We are bound to run things a certain way because that's how it's always been done — the systems were set up that way and we can't change them!

I am sure you have heard stories of how some companies are running all their applications in the cloud. This is not just small companies but large ones, too. I am not advocating going to the cloud for everything, as has been discussed in the market. It has been done by some, and it might come back to bite them. However, the cloud does bring up the possibility of new opportunities.

A number of people have asked me: "What is your cloud strategy? When are you moving to the cloud?" My simple answer is: "We don't have a cloud strategy."

We have a strategy that simply asks, what business issue are you trying to resolve? From an IT perspective we then look at the fundamentals of quality, cost and service — whether it be in the cloud, on premise, hosted, or has time to market requirements. At a high level, these questions deliver the initial answer very quickly.

A key requirement on starting from scratch is to ensure all costs are calculated over a five-year lifespan, not the next 12 to 24 months.

The next two years can be very different to the next five years. It is key to look at the five-year lifecycle for core infrastructure and/or cloud services. I still hear of organisations purchasing three-year warranties on storage and servers.

As you walk into your server room you will see how many different suppliers there are, how many network components there are from different suppliers and how many storage platforms. If your business was brand new, would you buy equipment from as many vendors as possible, just a few, or only one? If new, what would you do?

At Victoria University we review all our services as they come up for license review, or when hardware needs a refresh. We ask ourselves: Do we need to run this ourselves? What is the current cost of this service? Can we adjust the service? Do we need to provide this service at all? Can someone else run it more cheaply? Can we use other infrastructure components to run this service that once had its own individual equipment?

 

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