• United States

Chaos can lead to management mistakes

Apr 14, 20043 mins
Data Center

* Making rash decisions to combat chaos can lead to problems further on

Today’s IT environments are ideal breeding grounds for chaos. Administrators may be caught up in the firefighting spiral, where there isn’t enough time to do the strategic things they need to do because they’re always faced with tactical problems to solve. Then there are the users who want to “customize” their PCs, so everyone has their own, unique system setup. Add to that all of the new stuff that keeps getting added and changed in the infrastructure.

I contend that in some cases, chaos is what drives some IT staffs to buy point products. Point products can be quicker to deploy and are typically targeted at specific problems. In some cases this may be the right choice, but it could also be the wrong one.

There is the possibility that the chaos is merely a symptom and not the crux of the problem. The real problem may be the lack of an effective IT process. If this is the case, a point tool may be useful if it can help to develop healthy processes within the IT organization. But if you’re expecting to drop the tool in, add water and get a miracle – it just won’t happen.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not against using point products. I’m just saying that they must be used for the right reasons. If they fit the needs and long-term strategic goals of your IT organization, they make sense. But if you’re bringing them in mainly because they’re inexpensive and will hopefully scratch the itch that your IT organization is dealing with, you may want to take a closer look before making that move.

The problem with chaos is that it can drive people to a state of desperation. No one likes chaos; it’s extremely unsettling for most people. It is during these times that it is more prudent to take step back and take a good hard look at why you’re doing this. Make sure that it fits a strategic, long-term approach, and is not just a band-aid. Because the band-aid may come back to haunt you later, in the form of “migration” or “replacement.”

So if you’re faced with chaos in your IT environment, analyze the situation to see what the real cause is. Is it a lack of standards within your infrastructure? Are there opportunities for consolidation? For simplification? Are you too flexible and not disciplined enough? Are you lacking the right tools to get the job done right? Are you living with stopgap measures that have been used historically in your company? Is it time to revamp your approach to network and systems management?

It’s the answers to questions like these that can help you climb out of the pit of chaos. If you choose the right approach, you’re less likely to fall back into the pit. The wrong approach may simply get you more deeply mired in the quicksand. So no matter how difficult the situation is, don’t take the easy way out – make your management tool decision based on what’s right for the organization from a long-term, strategic perspective. Short-term thinking breeds problems in the future.