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Mailbag: Contract management; diversity

Oct 30, 20033 mins
Data Center

* Sharing some reader feedback

I like to share the viewpoints and perspectives of Network World readers who take the time to e-mail me feedback, and this week is no exception. Responding to a recent newsletter about contract management tools (, Chet Misner suggests an inexpensive solution.

Misner, a network manager, says a basic folder and calendar do the job just fine. He stores a copy of every live contract that concerns him in a file folder, and practices the discipline to always input critical contract dates in his calendaring program.

“In my calendar, I put the start date, the end date and the renew notice date, which is most important.  Because many of these contracts (especially telecom) have auto renewal, I make sure I put an entry on the calendar noting the deadline for contacting the vendor to stop the auto renewal (typically 30 to 60 days) and add a week for myself.”

He adds, “Just using these two devices I’ve never missed a date.  You’d be surprised how many people cannot produce a copy of the contract when asked; they usually need to scramble and search for it.”

In another newsletter, I reported on the results of an ITAA survey about diversity in IT. Chuck Bessant from Colorado Springs, Colo., says the report makes it look like white males are deliberately holding minorities back from positions in IT, but that’s not the case. The problem is a lack of candidates.

Bessant writes, “Over the years, going back 20, I have read through hundreds and hundreds of resumes. There was a time I rarely saw a resume from a woman (easy to spot) and even rarer from a Hispanic. Even in 2000 when I was actively searching for IP data network engineers, I rarely found minorities.”

He reviewed the resumes and contacted candidates who seemed to be qualified. “If minorities don’t apply, how can one be held accountable?” he asks. “I hired only those qualified regardless of sex or race status.”

Mark Bruch writes, “Who’s the real bigot? The person who hires who is available and has the credentials or the person who reports by skin color?”

He says the real problem is certified IT professionals who don’t have an overall understanding of technology. He says you need to hire one person for the server, one for the network, and one for the router – “three people without the rounded knowledge to get the job done. That’s diversity, but I’m not sure how good it is.”