Yet Another Business Case For Proactive IT Capacity Planning

Loosing only 20 seconds a day may seem inconsequential to senior management when compared to the potential down time caused by a real disaster. But, that’s not necessarily the case when you think back to why they originally invested enormous sums of money in ERP, CRM and like systems.

Virtually all of us experience these minor interruptions, while few of us will experience the substantial loss of a business process system following a full-blown disaster. Nonetheless, when the formulas stated above are applied to both of these situations in an even-handed way, the result is roughly equivalent amounts of system down time in both situations after the formulas are applied to the same ten to twenty year interval. This gives one yet another reason to focus on capacity planning.

Paradoxically, this observation is not usually reflected in the budgeting process. There a great deal of money is spent up front to assure high system availability and guaranteed business continuity should disaster strike. At the same time, incremental improvements in the capacity of the non-disaster-recovery parts of your systems are usually not driven with the same sense of urgency.

Now, I don’t mean to suggest that these daily “slings and arrows” are the same as the rare disasters that some of us are “heir” to. However, proactively upgrading to a more robust server, simply replacing the paper tray on a printer with one having a larger capacity, and so on can sometimes prevent as much downtime over a 20-year interval as can expensive business continuity systems.

You can’t avoid the costs attendant to insuring your organization against the threat of a disaster. But, by attending to capacity planning sooner rather than later, you can reduce your overall down time at little or no additional cost. And, in so doing, exploit your business process systems in full.

Finally, one could argue that employees spend a lot more time in friendly conversation standing around the proverbial water cooler than they do waiting for their business applications to come back on line each day. But the former, done in moderation, is likely to increase productivity while the latter usually has the opposite affect.

Marcia Gulesian has served as software developer, project manager, CTO, and CIO. She is author of well more than 100 feature articles on IT, its economics and its management, many of which appear on CIO Update.