Good Work Finally Gets Its Payoff

 
 
By Peter Coffee  |  Posted 2006-01-09 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Opinion: Rising consequences of IT error boost risk-reduction readiness and resources.

Theres a poster in the gallery of the infamous Despair Inc. whose caption reads, "Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now." Much of the mail that Ive gotten from IT pros in the last few years has reported that gloomy motto being borne out in the real world: They feel that theyre not rewarded for urging appropriate investment in sound IT practice, but that people would rather they just kept quiet and let things be done cheaply now -- and fixed, if necessary, later.

I felt as if the time for the payoff of hard IT work might finally be arriving when I saw this weeks eWEEK case study of IT risk management at mission-critical IT sites. The story reports, for example, that "security and IT risk management, rather than system maintenance, consumes at least 10 percent" of the daily attention of Richard Reeder, CIO of the State University of New Yorks Stony Brook campus. Thats probably a growing percentage, and its certainly consistent with my experience at -- for example -- Exxon, where safety was always given a high priority in terms of both anticipating problems and ensuring that unforeseen accidents did not recur.

It would be nice if people got even more on board with this idea in response to debacles like the Windows MetaFile rendering vulnerability. As I pointed out last week on the eWEEK Labs blog, this wasnt a quality problem: This was a defective quick-fix design that enabled user convenience by being outrageously indifferent to foreseeable security problems. Thats not mere Monday-morning quarterbacking, either: We warned people 12 years ago that things like this would happen if the possibility was not designed out of the system up front.

The eventual consequences of letting technical laziness pay off now are getting larger and more certain, ranging from the rapid and embarrassing exposure of errors in the blogosphere to the legal and financial penalties of regulatory violation. Its a good time, finally, to be the person making the case that doing it right, and doing it with an eye on the future, isnt techno-geek indulgence -- just good business sense.

Tell me where youre making your investments at peter_coffee@ziffdavis.com.

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.
 
 
 
 
Peter Coffee is Director of Platform Research at salesforce.com, where he serves as a liaison with the developer community to define the opportunity and clarify developers' technical requirements on the company's evolving Apex Platform. Peter previously spent 18 years with eWEEK (formerly PC Week), the national news magazine of enterprise technology practice, where he reviewed software development tools and methods and wrote regular columns on emerging technologies and professional community issues.Before he began writing full-time in 1989, Peter spent eleven years in technical and management positions at Exxon and The Aerospace Corporation, including management of the latter company's first desktop computing planning team and applied research in applications of artificial intelligence techniques. He holds an engineering degree from MIT and an MBA from Pepperdine University, he has held teaching appointments in computer science, business analytics and information systems management at Pepperdine, UCLA, and Chapman College.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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