A Bumpy Ride Ahead; Get Back to Basics

By Cameron Sturdevant  |  Posted 2001-01-29

There is little doubt that the American economy is headed for sluggish growth or more likely a recession, and this means that IT managers need to focus on fundamentals.

The first thing to keep in mind is that telecommunications, data networking (voice networking intentionally left out), customer-driven supply chain integration, storage and security increase in importance during troubled times. The best way to judge whether to bring new or revised products into production is to ask, "Do they lower costs by allowing the current staff to do more with less?"

The second thing to keep in mind is that new, unproven technologies—and we include here just about anything that can be called a "gadget," including postage-stamp-size cell phones and all personal digital assistants—should be passed over without a second thought. Also included in this "ignore-at-will" category is any wireless product that is not a straight replacement for premise network wiring. In other words, use 802.11b technology to save the expense of running new cable; ignore Bluetooth.

Its not that I dont love gadgets and the idea of proximity-based wireless technology. The problem is that these products and technologies failed to make themselves indispensible during their heyday, and they wont improve the bottom line during a downturn.

Returning to IT fundamentals also means getting every bit of value out of IT resources like PCs, printers, memory and even monitors by using an inventory product to prevent wasteful corporate "sin closets."

You know what I mean, those back rooms where all the old stuff gets tossed. Track everything, use it to its full extent and then jettison equipment in an orderly fashion.

Finally, the troubled economic times ahead mean that project prioritization will spell the difference between success and failure for departments or even divisions or companies. Make sure to champion projects that improve productivity and reduce costs over time. This means acquiring proven, mundane products like SNMP-based network management tools and log file or agent-based performance management tools instead of heavy agents that require extensive software development kits.

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