Page Two

By Peter Coffee  |  Posted 2004-11-08 Print this article Print

What is the IT budget situation at Duke Energy, Kevin?

Wilson: On the workstation side, budgets are cruising along just comfortably.

Meaning essentially flat?

Wilson: Were cruising comfortably—no excess, yet no really tight pinching. Security continues to get the focus—intrusion prevention systems, firewalls, additional software to help protect the desktops from threats that may get into the system.

What would you say is the representative workstation that youre acquiring these days? What class of hardware are we talking about here?

Wilson: Id put our normal offering at 3GHz and 512.

A 3GHz processor and 512MB of RAM?

Wilson: Right, probably for 80 percent of our people.

And these are primarily Windows machines?

Wilson: Right, XP.

And what has your strategy been on the Windows XP Service Pack 2 deployment?

Wilson: SP2 is going out probably March/April of next year. Were not pushing it as a security fix right off.

Is that because of specific reservations or because you havent done your due diligence yet?

Wilson: We upgrade desktop software in cycles, with integration testing of several updates at one time, and were rolling SP in with some other updates that were doing next year. Therell be a lot of testing going on with it in November and December.

Do others have a defined position on SP2 at this time?

Gunnerson: I dont think weve even put it on the threshold yet.

Nowicke: Weve been testing it in the IT department. I think probably well include it the next time we do a refresh.

It doesnt sound like any of you are in any hurry to get it out there to deal with any security issues.

Wilson: Were still looking more at our software firewall and intrusion prevention facility ... in the near term—not necessarily what comes with SP2.

Click here to read more about IT administrators skepticism about SP2s security. Frank, is the IT budget opening up any at Bose?

Calabrese: Weve been asked to cut our per-desktop unit cost by 5 percent. On the upside, were going to be capturing an additional 10 percent of units this year. So Ill make up in volume what Im losing in unitized costs.

Is your unit cap increasing because of an increase in the size of your user base?

Calabrese: Really, its more accurate counting, as well as a change in focus on how were actually doing our charging.

Weve assumed a desktop ratio based on demographic profiles of our user base, and our financial guys would come to the table and agree in principle and then charge based on people—for example, with the assumption that engineers have two machines and accountants have one machine. And the numbers would reconcile, and wed move forward.

It turns out that engineers have three machines and some accountants have two machines, and [Microsofts] SMS [Systems Management Server] has the ability to pick up on that. So the system of record will be SMS tracking instead of our human resources database—net-net is Im adding roughly 900 additional units.

And the result of that is youll be able to get those resources without, in effect, saying you need a budget increase?

Calabrese: Exactly. So whereas weve got flat head count, it is funding my efforts for desktop firewalls, it is funding my efforts for automated password management tools. So all of these capital expenditures around tools are being underwritten without reflecting against my budget.

Next page: Managing costs and efficiencies.

Peter Coffee is Director of Platform Research at, where he serves as a liaison with the developer community to define the opportunity and clarify developersÔÇÖ technical requirements on the companyÔÇÖs 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 companyÔÇÖs 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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