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Mailbag: 2004-to-do list; taking techies for a test run

Jan 27, 20042 mins
Data Center

* Readers share thoughts on recent newsletter topics

Gartner recently suggested several resolutions for IT leaders to pursue in 2004 ( These suggestions came at just the right time for Theresa Rowe, assistant vice president of University Technology Services for Oakland University in Rochester, Mich.

Rowe is working to create a three-year strategic technology plan and says the school will continue its focus on refreshing old systems. “We use a formula now to evaluate hardware replacement: age + number of component failures or system events + link to strategic plan + link to critical business process + evaluation of scope + ability to consolidate.  It’s an evaluation art, not a science, but it helps identify the ‘highest numbers’ and we schedule those systems for replacement,” she writes.

Technical skills development is also a key goal for the university. “There are skill gaps that are hurting our organization at many levels,” she says.

Along the lines of staff development, Avraham Sonenthal believes Gartner’s list of goals was short-sighted because it only mainly addresses technical challenges. “I don’t see any resolutions on how to develop your people. Without people you don’t have a company,” he says.

Finally, another newsletter relayed how many CIOs would like try IT workers out on a temporary basis before offering them permanent employment (

Consultant Michael Thompson raises a good point: “While I can see the value of trying out an employee on a contract or short-term basis, how does an employer expect to attract an employee who is already working full-time somewhere else?”

He continues, “If you’re a new grad, unemployed or between contracts then you’ll do anything to get the job; however, if not, it’s unlikely that you’ll risk your family’s security by jumping from a secure job to a contract/short-term position (no matter how confident you are in your skills).”