The Business of IT Blog has an article titled “3 Secrets That Oil Companies Use To Run A Great IT Department” that has some interesting insight from Sunoco‘s head of IT, Peter Whatnell. According to the article,
Whatnell stresses that we need to make sure that we don’t “…waste a good crisis.” What he means by this is that 2009 is going to be tough and it’s going to force every IT department to investigate nontraditional ways of delivering IT services.
The article continues on to say that IT departments need to research lower costs method of delivering services to the organization. I don’t think anyone would disagree with that, but many would (and do) disagree with looking toward the ‘cloud’ for some of these services.
Of course, if you’ve read my post on Cloud Computing, you know that I’m all for looking at the Cloud for methods to deliver software and services.
Whatnell, according to the article, has a similar mindset.
Whatnell is somewhat famous for saying that he’d consider moving to a cheaper alternative, such as Google’s email system, if he could get 90% of the functionality for 10% of the cost. One of the reasons that he’s taken this stance is because he realizes that most users only scratch the surface of the functionality of the applications that they have available to them. Give the power users access to the fancy, expensive version of the apps and give everyone else the basic version.
Think about your current email system, especially if you are in a large organization. Do you use all of the features of Microsoft‘s Exchange or Lotus Domino (is that still around?)? Personally, I use email and the address book and nothing else.
Why couldn’t an organization take their email system out to the cloud? Reliability would be about the same I would think. Management overhead would be less (or would it?).
A pertinent question to ask yourself as a head of IT is “if I were starting my IT operation today, would I do it this way?“. The answer to that question might just make you stop and think about researching other delivery mechanisms for your IT services.