Are you sitting on an expensive disaster?

Those who have been following my posts will have spotted that occasionally I discuss something less technical. If that sort of thing bores you – look away now.

Everyone I’ve ever met who’s been in IT for any length of time – whether it’s as a technician, a sysadmin or a helpdesk operator – knows that this is a fast-moving industry and sometimes businesses get left behind.

Whether that’s the server that for some reason is still running Exchange 5.5, the PC with an IBM logo on the front that’s still running Windows 2000 or the sudden, urgent need to restore a backup from some obscure tape format that we thought had died out circa 2001.

And we get to pick up the pieces.

There’s a simple reason for this: as a profession, we’re fantastically good at spending money. We can easily spend half an hour on Dell’s website and our employer walks away £thousands lighter.

However, we’re fantastically bad at explaining why we’re spending the money or what benefit it’ll bring. Few of us buy a new car when the old one still meets our needs and it’s still economical to maintain, yet we provide equipment that’s more-or-less maintenance free and expect our employers to replace it while it still meets their needs just fine.

Upshot? We get to explain that yes, you can still buy Exchange. But no, you can’t easily upgrade the fifteen year old server in the corner to the latest version.

Solution? Explain what you want in terms the business will understand: it should either make money, save money or reduce risk. If you can’t think of at least one good reason based on one of these three, you probably shouldn’t be recommending the solution in the first place.

James Cort

James Cort is Managing Director of Bediwin Information Services, providing IT management and integration services in the South West of England.