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CIO Perspective: Traditional Strategies Still In Place

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Social enterprises, enterprise collaboration, bring your own device (BYOD), new development methodologies are the changes that the affect the organizations as a whole and the IT departments is no exception. However there are the fundamentals which are and will be there for times to come as is the business continuation, asset management and disaster recovery. Here are the traditional technology strategies still in place.

Change management is a traditional Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) process, which is here and is not going away in the future. Version control is also a part of change management. Spinning some number of servers at once from System Center Virtual Machine Manager using virtual machine templates or changing virtual machine hardware in minutes does not unnecessitate the change management cycle. Keeping track of hardware, software and versions, operating system patch levels is one of the most critical things IT departments have to do. Yes, there are tools to automate these operations but still the CIO must ensure that they are carried out properly.

Asset management and tracking is one of the core operations of the IT department. BYOD, using Chromebooks seem to loosen the policies but in fact they should be tightened. Since personal use of devices make the boundaries of the asset management blurry, CIOs need to decide the ways to keep track of and manage these devices, especially the data stored on them. Revisiting the old policies and updating them is a must-do, but slackening or abandoning them is a very strategic mistake.

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Meetings and travels are the things that should not be left out, and with “meetings” I don’t mean “Live meeting” in Lync, Skype or Hangouts. I mean, where people sit down in one room physically and breathe the same air. This human interaction cannot be replaced with any technology. Having such a meeting with the system, network, database administrators, business specialists and analysts is the best way to discuss things and sparkle ideas. In almost all decision cases, such meetings address lots of problems in advance and assign them to people so that precious time is saved down the road.

Same goes for visiting people in their offices or meeting rooms – the term for this is “walking around.” It does not matter which collaboration platform is in place in the company, whether or not you have mobile access to the platform and everybody is interactive there does not mean that everything is fine. Do not assume that a post with a smiley is a real expression of a person’s feelings. A 🙂 may mean many things – from “OK I understand” to “no bad feelings” – but it is just a response to the latest post. I does not show how a person feels about the project, about his or her job or does not reflect any discomfort. Only by speaking face to face with people, by observing their voice tones and body language you can understand their feelings. To do this you have to go “there”, to people’s offices, to meeting rooms, wherever people happen to be.

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When the servers begin to show their age, they are repurposed for tasks that have low system requirements. The objective is to get the most out of the investment as possible, even after depreciation period is completed. Reusing of old servers is another strategy that will be here as long as there are servers in the datacenter.

Traditional application development life cycle is here to stay. Today there are agile development methods, rapid releases and similar methodologies, which give companies competitive advantages in the web app space. It is a totally different thing when we talk about mission critical applications where they are expected to work correctly every time, must be compliant with regulations, standards and should be compatible with other systems. In such systems the deployment lifecycle of requirements gathering, application design, development, testing, documentation, version control, quality assurance etc. should be followed in order to deploy a high-quality software. If this software is expected to have a high number of users, it also has to be stress-tested. Stress tests can be carried out by automated tools, but it should not be skipped.

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As I have discussed, “the fundamentals” do not change. Whether it is a new app, a new methodology of doing things or changes in the environment, such as BYOD there are time tested solutions that work and they should not be overlooked.

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