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[Discuss] Justify your existence

On 12/16/2011 09:53 AM, Matthew Gillen wrote:
> On 12/16/2011 09:44 AM, Matthew Gillen wrote:
>> So the biggest thing you need to do IMHO is not let people conflate
>> "overhead" with "non-essential".
> Just to beat this horse a little more: "overhead" is a technical term
> for accountants; "non-essential" is a judgment call about value to the
> company and the core business.  There is no implicit linkage between
> the two terms, unless the person you're talking to is an idiot.
> In which case you should have a few more cocktails before continuing
> the conversation ;-)
Good advice. The issue is that top management looks at numbers. They
also compare their numbers with the Industry. When HP acquired Compaq,
HP had a very high IT expense in comparison to the industry. Part of
this was a result of acquisitions. When Mark Hurd took over from Carly
Fiorina, he hired a new IT VP who was charged with placing this expense
in line with the industry. (I was engineering). Just about every little
group had their own data center. There was also a large amount of
duplication, a number of different business systems accomplishing the
same task. The solution was to build 4 new modern data centers in the US
to replace the many local and regional centers. Last year, for instance,
they moved the Marlborough data center that was used for porting and
testing of client applications to Houston. The employees (my former
coworkers) were told they had to work from home. There was also a
restriction on some products some departments could buy. One senior
engineer was very pissed because he was not allowed to buy something
like Adobe Acrobat. The bottom line is just that. A company like HP
looks at percentages. How many people do you need to support Windows
desktop systems, and do they have to be local. Can a support person in
Dallas support a user in Boston? With respect to servers,, nearly all
new servers are now installed with some form of remote console where
there is rarely a need for anyone to enter the physical data center.

Jerry Feldman <gaf at>
Boston Linux and Unix
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