Talk about pressure. I was speaking early last week with an IT manager who was describing how he had been faring under the current reality of tight budgets and staff cutbacks. What were his feelings about outsourcing? Not favorable. The latest round of pressure from upper management was to give this IT manager a fixed deadline to make an IT project work or face all or part of his operation being outsourced. Of course, he is clipping those news articles about MSPs, ISPs and Internet consulting companies going under. This doesnt sound like that strategic partnering of IT and outsourcers that is going to take computing to the next level.
What will revive the corporate technology business? I can think of a couple of suggestions apparent from articles in this weeks issue.
Keep investing in technologies and systems that you are sure will benefit the company. How can you do that when your budget has been shredded? Pick products that dont have a lot of upfront costs. Systems built around Linux come to mind. If you are ready to work your way through a lot of unbridled exuberance, there are interesting developments to track. IBMs continued investment in Linux-based systems promises a long-term stability that other neat software products lack. Pass along our story on LinuxWorld and IBM to those Linux disbelievers.
And if you want a real-world, up-to-date example of how to make Linux work in the risk-adverse world of finance, read Anne Chens article "Banking on Linux" on Page 35. As Anne points out, cost factors can get Linux in the door, but only strong performance can help the operating system find a permanent home.
And there is no better way to get some bucks back in the IT budget and look like a corporate hero than to find products that really can outperform your current installations at a much lower cost. One example to consider: new ways to develop, deploy and manage storage. Check out Henry Baltazars analysis if you want to understand what virtual storage is all about. Rather than adding storage capacity to a server or server cluster, virtualization allows you to add storage to a pool that can be reallocated based on your companys needs. Neat concept, but does it work? For a review of a product that blends virtualization and SANs over IP, see Henrys review of FalconStors IPStor. Henry was sufficiently impressed to give the product an Analysts Choice award. And, believe me, he is difficult to impress.
What impresses me are executives who rebound from the current downturn with determination, not resignation. Read Dennis Callaghans article on Andrew Filipowskis plans to recast Divine. Filipowski has seen more ups and downs than a roller coaster, but he is determined to become an integrated e-business vendor built in part from the shards of the shattered dot-coms. I dont know if he can pull it off, but his resolution to keep trying may be the key in reviving IT from the present status.