Critical Data Stays

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2004-06-25 Print this article Print

at Home"> But Bruner is also of the same opinion as Townsend in believing that critical data will always be kept close to the vest. "Companies and governments [will] continue to look at outsourcing as a potential way to reduce IT costs," he said. "But I dont see as many CIOs who are willing to take their critical data—this is how companies make or break their living, after all—overseas. I do see companies will potentially outsource to conglomerate data centers that are going to manage their facility at a cost-effective rate. Its the Wal-Mart theory: Hey, if I can run a larger data center, then when I talk to IBM or whoever those companies are, my leverage with them is much greater the larger I am. Thats whats happening in the state of Texas. They had 80 data centers. If we run it as one, think of the economies of scale youd get." OK, so data centers arent immune to consolidation. Are all data center jobs immune to staff shrinkage? Of course not. At the Airline Tariff Publishing Co.—an organization run by the airlines as a nonprofit whose purpose is to collect, disseminate, cancel and update anything having to do with airline fares—Data Center Manager Tim LaFollette told me that the organization trimmed its work force from 570 employees back in 2002 down to its current level of 520. Hes managing maintenance groups, developers, and PC techs responsible for maintaining desktops and laptops, and hes looking for Java programmers and developers, just in case you thought all data center jobs were only concerned with dusty mainframes.
The vulnerable positions that saw the ax were your classic low-hanging, low-skills positions: those of data compilers who entered into the system airline reservation information that was e-mailed or faxed in. After the Internet brought automation, some 30 to 40 data compilers lost their jobs.
But those were low-skill positions, ripe for elimination, whether its cause is motivation or offshore outsourcing, right? Those types of jobs have nothing to do with higher-skilled positions, which will never be prey to offshoring or automation, right? Lets hope so. Its nice to think there are some jobs that are still relatively safe. Although Im not sure data compilers will feel comforted by that. Write to me at Associate Editor Lisa Vaas has written about enterprise applications since 1997. Check out eWEEK.coms Database Center at