Have you ever asked yourself, which came first projects or operations, is it like the whole chicken and egg discussion, well not really! Systems don’t just happen, appear or drop out of the sky; they are built, built by people, smart, dedicated, energetic people. Systems are created, most likely through a project and solid project governance, so, I guess in this case it is clear, Projects Happen then Operations Begin. Now that this is clear, lets talk about operations. Lets go back a few years, back to the days when systems were centrally controlled, you know the GREEN SCREEN era, I know some of you are thinking further back into punch cards, but the way back machine is not set for that far back. Back in the day, everything ran from the mainframe and everything that went in and came out was controlled, no one got access to the system without control and sign off. Then the 80’s hit and the dawn of the personal computer, why did they call them personal anyway, they were not very personal. This was the time where you, the user had control, you could load your own software, create your own data, run your own reports, hey, you could even turn it off, right in the middle of the day if you felt like it.
This was the beginning of convenience at the price of control. The 80’s and 90’s were the days of, I get what I want, not what IT tells me I should have. As each day and week passed we saw more functionality, more features, more bells and whistles and a slow leak on the control valve. What have we done to compensate for the fact that control has paid for convenience, what have we done to return control, while still delivering convenience.
A Letter to my friends in “Operations World”:
Yours is a complex world, managing and maintaining complex systems of technology; servers, computers, data, security and much, much more. You are responsible for the information central nervous system of your organization. “Keeping the lights on” is a poor excuse of a description of your responsibilities. You are the breath in the body, keeping information flowing in your organization/organisms corporate neuro network. This breath allows your organization to delivery services, make decisions, develop plans and strategies and continuously
No pressure but your organization is very dependent on you to make sure the information and systems and applications are operating in a secure way, that information is managed, that access is warranted and that controls are in place to provide assurance to your organizations leadership. So how are you achieving these lofty goals, are you sure that staff, systems administrators, super users and users are following the rules. What good are your rules, procedures and policies if they are not being followed? What do you do if people are not following the rules, how do you respond, what action do you take, are you prepared to take action, can you really not take action. What if you are in an organization where they expect you to follow the rules and you do, but your peers do not, what do YOU DO. What if your organization has procedures and policies and you know you are taking short cuts and ignoring the rules, do you really think that you won’t get caught?
It is simply not possible to return to the GREEN SCREEN era ! That type of control is not what is required, besides convenience must play a part. Each of us in IT has a responsibility to ensure that solutions are provided to the business, while still maintaining the control for the corporation, and that my friends is the Ancient Discipline. IT exists to serve the business. We must deliver solutions while not leaving the front door open.