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October 2007 CIO Decisions Letters to the Editor

CIO Decisions readers weigh in on recent articles.

Recovery Is the Greater Challenge

The article "The Big Hand-Off" [August] provided some interesting points around commercially available data backup outsourcing; however, I believe the target audience for the article would more suitably have been the small office/home office market, not midmarket companies.

Most midsized companies rely heavily on their systems and data to function in today's competitive market space. Disaster recovery is typically an inherent part of any backup strategy. The topic of recovering systems and data from backups (the true measure of a backup/recovery/DR implementation) was not thoroughly covered, and could lead readers to underestimate the challenges, costs and risks associated with recovering data from outsourced SSP data backups.

The fact is that backups are the "easy" part -- recovery presents the challenge. Although viable for recovering smaller amounts of data due to isolated incidents (single server data loss, user deletes, database errors), this approach typically presents significant challenges during disaster recovery. The article in question strikes me as somewhat outdated in its comparison of outsourced SSP backups to tape backups. Advancements in both hardware and software technology, combined with a decline in costs for such key elements of a backup/recovery/DR capability as servers, disk and bandwidth, provide viable alternatives and options that midsized companies must explore, to their potential great benefit.

The strategies used by large enterprises to ensure the continued viability of their data and systems infrastructure need no longer be vastly different for midsized businesses. Available technology combined with affordability has made advanced disaster recovery capabilities viable for the midmarket.

Andre Noenchen
Manager, Professional Services
FlexITyTM Solutions Inc.
Richmond Hill, Ontario

The Right Way to Manage the Human Resource

I just finished reading my July issue of CIO Decisions magazine and was thoroughly impressed by Niel Nickolaisen's candid and refreshing insight into managing the human resource [Parting Shot, "Performance Reviews: Keeping It Informal"].

I have worked at many organizations where spinning the "wheel of blame" was the first step in discussing failed projects or missed timelines. If you were to examine many of these failed opportunities, very few could be attributed to one person or a group of individuals. Unfortunately, in the discussions I have seen, finger pointing seems to originate at the top.

If more CIOs, directors and managers would embrace Niel's philosophy of examining the process first, keeping criticism out of the examination and striving to lead by example and vision, every company in the world would show up on a Top 100 Best Places to Work list.

Thank you again for a very good column.

Robby Bryant
Senior IC Consultant
Lorillard Tobacco Co.

A Plaudit for Cross-Breeding

Needless to say I am behind in my reading, but I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your article, "Beware Career Cross-Breeding" [Project Expert, April].

I spent over 10 years at IBM and Teradata working on large data warehouse implementations. My situation may be unique due to the nature of our projects, but I was both the lead business analyst and the project manager. During the discovery and assessment phase, there is a small team on the ground. I was the team lead and an active contributor to the deliverables. As the project matured into the macro and micro design phases with an ever-growing team, I spent more of my time on project management tasks.

The big advantage we found is that in a normal engagement, the business analyst would roll off, but by staying actively involved, I could quickly resolve and issues and questions that came up in the subsequent phases.

Garrett N. Ring
Acxiom Global Consulting Group
via email

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