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June 2006 CIO Decisions Letters to the Editor

I read " Data Center Crossroads" [April 2006 issue], and I could not disagree more with Barry Brunetto's view of outsourcing one's data center. I am currently in the second year of an outsourcing agreement with Bell/Fusepoint. Aside from contract issues early on, we've gotten nothing but positive results like these:
  • excellent uptime rates (99.9%);
  • great support from the technical group;
  • solid and "guaranteed" business continuity targets; and
  • monthly costs that are roughly 40% lower than they would be with an in-house data center.
The key to our success -- and almost everyone else's -- lies in spelling out the provisions of our service-level agreement. I have peace of mind, and my resources are concentrated on growing the business, improving margins, increasing customer service, and collaborating with a third party whose objectives and projects are aligned with the business.

Richard J. Houle
Chief Information Officer
Weir Services
Montreal, Canada

You did a great puff piece on outsourcing ["Data Center Crossroads"] but said very little about the build side. In addition, you talked principally about Web-based applications, which make a lot of sense to outsource. But data centers are about more than just the Web. The article doesn't really discuss a company's core applications or data centers that don't need 24/7 support.

I'm currently looking at these very issues and keep returning to the idea that it is less expensive to buy and own than to outsource when you don't need cutting-edge technology and can make your hardware last four or five years.

Samuel Brooks
MIS Director
Keystone Management Group
Mount Pleasant, Mich.

I read with interest your article "For Managers, It's Not the Gold, It's the Glory" [Project Expert, April issue]. As a project manager, I've prided myself on completing successful projects, not earning a large salary. My philosophy has been, "Be good at what you do, and the money will chase after you." While this philosophy has held up over the years, glory and respect have been elusive.

Eight months ago, I re-evaluated my thinking. I concluded that project managers function much like consultants, so my focus should be on exceeding the expectations of my "clients," or internal stakeholders. Further, I should let my clients take the credit for success, and I should take the blame for failure. In return, my internal stakeholders should compensate me handsomely.

I applied my new attitude without fanfare. Once it became known that I wasn't glory seeking, stakeholders started including me. Once people see your behavior as furthering their cause, they don't mind paying you well, and they're less inclined to undermine you. Now my philosophy is, "Be very good at what you do and expect only to be paid very well for it."

Ronald T. Jacobs
Business Technology Analyst
Time Warner Cable, Raleigh Division
Morrisville, N.C.

Your Project Expert article on why project managers leave was spot-on ["For Managers, It's Not the Gold, It's the Glory"]. My calculations of the costs associated with turnover of a manager's position are similar to yours. But you left out an important consideration.

At a former employer of mine, the No. 1 reason cited for turnover during employees' exit interviews was a lack of support for formalized project management processes and the necessary tools to automate those processes. At this same company, I calculated the annualized cost of employee turnover to be $3.2 million and the cost of an integrated PM toolset and processes at $300,000 annually. The budget for process implementation and supporting tools was never funded because senior executives believed that the current management climate was too difficult to change.

Devin B. Hedge
Program Manager
Sapient Corp.
Arlington, Va.

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