IT is *not* that simple


So I’ve tried to avoid IT topics in my blog as I was thinking that I would focus more on the other issues I find interesting here in Madrid, but a course this morning has convinced me otherwise so I figured I’d jot down some quick thoughts before I head to class.

Today our IS Professor, most likely in order to simplify instruction (in my opinion) framed “Platforms” in IT as “Desktop Operating Systems”.  I think as an introduction this could be fair, as long as its clear that this is just a way to simplify different IT topics.  In a more general IT sense, I think platforms can be a lot of things rather than just an OS.  Wikipedia agrees: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computing_platform .

Where I really disagreed with our professor is in the statement that you should always trend toward having only one operating system in use at your company.  The question of how many different OSes you want to run shouldn’t be driven by the IT desire to minimize variety in the ecosystem – it should be driven by what your business needs are.  I would argue that while for comparable capabilities less operating systems is better than more, I’ve often found during my career that you gain more by adding additional capabilities (via different OSes and applications) than it costs you in management.

In other words, Total Cost of Ownership in IT (although probably easier to measure) is a lot less important than Return on Investment.

(I’d love to continue this post, but time to go to class)

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2 Comments on “IT is *not* that simple”

  1. Chris Janton Says:

    I never was a fan of ROI. Tended to make one think in the *very* short term. TCO isn’t very useful either. What’s important is what is *added* to the organization – flexibility, general goodness (forgive me if my lexibuzzerator lacks the most recent update)

    ROI is dead, long live ROI
    http://www.youtube.com/frankbuytendijk#p/u/3/NtV9AIAJwos

    Also some corporate views on making IT valuable
    http://www.oracle.com/thoughtleadership

    of course they believe that possibilities that your tools provide are the value.

    Me? Take the T out of IT and make the I mean Intelligence/Integration/Interpretation.

    Information in use is *always* subjective


  2. Well said Chris … I agree with you – ROI is probably too simplistic and near term as well as it doesn’t take into account other value that is added by good IT (but its still better than the pure TCO focus which I see so much of).


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