Seeing the Forest and the Trees

Onto the next thought: how to get rid of all the Dell laptops his field personnel use and the Windows XP software they run on. His next OS upgrade won’t be a Window’s product he’s thinking, but Linux, once it becomes a better PC platform and his XP licenses run out. The reason: cost.

Speaking of costs, in five years, Simon is hoping to have all his field personnel using $600 portable handhelds that double as cell phones. Most of these people only use their $2,300 laptops for email and Web surfing anyway. But all that’s for later …

Back To Work

Simon now turns his attention to an attempt by his Washington D.C. headquarters to parrot the success of Howard Dean’s grassroots campaign (remember, everybody’s on board about Web thing now). Seems his staff went ahead with a project on its own without consulting Simon. The project failed and now Simon has four weeks to get it up and running; right this time.

“The concept is very good but it was hatched by people in D.C. without any involvement from us,” says Simon. “They went ahead and actually selected a vendor to provide them with the services they needed. And two-months later that project is completely falling apart. So this was a real problem for us and basically my team got put in charge of finding a replacement; definitely on the fast pace. We’re just about to sign a contract that I think is going to very successful based on checking customer references, seeing what other people are doing with (the solution). Things the other people didn’t do. They bought a turn-key solution that didn’t work. As opposed to, if you’ve been around software, you know the 20 important questions to ask.”

What Goes Around …

With this situation in hand its time to wrap up and head home for the day after a few musings about the state of IT today. After 20 years as a business analyst for Anderson Consulting and running IT for SC, Simon has seen it all (well, almost). And, surprisingly, even with all the advancements and the reality of Moore’s Law, what he sees today isn’t that much different from yesterday.

“Most of the concepts haven’t fundamentally changed,” he says. “There’s a lot of layers of complexity but many of the core concepts I learned 20 years ago are still applicable today. There’s usually a few more levels you have to go through but it’s still the same basic trouble shooting concepts: breaking problems down into their disparate components. And managing people hasn’t changed either. You still have to assign and delegate tasks and follow up on them and do the same kind of things from a task management and project management standpoint that you used to.”

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