by Chris Koch

Tips to Help Tech Execs Manage CEO Expectations

Jul 01, 20033 mins
IT Leadership

1. Separate the hype from the reality. “It?s an interesting theory, Bill, but right now that?s all it is. You see, on this grid thing, even if it were possible (which it isn?t), we don?t want our applications sloshing around in a big pool with our competitors? applications. And when a computer heals itself, let me know so I can call the National Enquirer. Short answer: On-demand?s not ready for prime time, Bill, but I?ll keep an eye on it, and I?ll keep you informed.”

2. Remind him about the nature of outsourcing. “See, Bill, right now on-demand?s just an outsourcing deal, and outsourcing is a 50-50 proposition. Believe me, it?s not like flipping a switch?bingo?you get computing power. But I?ll keep an eye on it and keep you informed.”

3. Hop on variable pricing. “This is something we?re looking into right now, Bill. We?re not going to buy any more servers. We?ve got enough servers. Now we?re going to start buying by the CPU and the megabyte. We can do it only with one vendor at a time right now, but we?re going to look into it with each of our major vendors to see if we can cut 10 percent to 25 percent of our hardware costs. We don?t want to become completely dependent on one vendor though, because then they?ve got us you know where. I?ll keep you informed.”

4. Tell him you?re joining a standards organization. &151;We?re going to be part of the solution on this one, Bill. I?ve assigned several of my guys to this group that?s working on creating standards for Web services. Remember when we discussed Web services? Well, that?s what?s going to make this whole thing work?someday?and we?re making sure that when the standards do emerge, they?ll actually work with what we?ve already got. But that?s long term, Bill. Real long term. I?ll keep you informed.&151;

5. Ask for his help. “Actually, Bill, you can help me here. The next time a vendor tries to sell you anything new, blow your top. Tell them how you already have 300 servers from six different vendors. Make them tell you how they?re going to make their server work with everyone else?s server without making us pay more. They owe us&151;they owe you&151;an explanation. And how are the kids?”