CA's Jay Fry touches on the Golden Rules of IT

When good enough is no longer good enough, and management is screaming about costs, cloud computing just could be the answer.

From time to time, I have the chance to speak with Jay Fry, of CA. We've had many similar experiences over the years and have come to present similar viewpoints. A blog post he published a while back, Making 'good enough' the new normal focused on a couple of the Golden Rules of IT

I wrote something on these rules a long time ago (see Reprise of the Golden Rules of IT if you'd like to torture yourself by reviewing the rules) and believe that Jay has a point. Golden Rule number 4 is "Good enough is good enough" and Golden Rule number 5 is "Don't make major changes unless people are screaming!" Let's look at the definition of those rules

4. Good enough is good enough. Although it would be nice to have the luxury of unlimited amounts of time, resources and funding and be able to develop every conceivable feature, most IT executives know that they are only going to be allowed the time, the resources and the funding to satisfy roughly 80% of requests for new capabilities.

5. Don’t make major changes unless people are screaming! If they’re not screaming, see Rule #4, good enough is good enough. If they are merely asking for changes, see Rule 2, don’t touch it, you’ll break it, and Rule 3, if you touched it and broke it, it will take longer to fix than you think. If they begin screaming, you’ll have to do something to respond, just touch things as lightly as possible.

If we consider the impact of these rules on the use of cloud computing, we can see that major organizations are only going to consider a change to their IT infrastructure when "good enough" is no longer good enough and/or people are screaming. Both apply in many organizations at this time.

Today's systems have become a mass of complex system architectures combined with complex processes and are becoming too difficult to maintain or change. Furthermore, upper management is screaming at IT to maintain current levels of service, but drastically reduce the cost.

IT organizations have addressed these issues by:

  • Moving to packaged applications to reduce development and support expenses
  • Moving from single-vendor environments to industry standard systems and software (read moving to X86 and Windows, Linux or Intel versions of UNIX)
  • Moving development, administration and support staff to lower-cost areas of the world

It makes perfectly good sense that the next step would be to move the systems and system software off of the organization's books and onto the books of a third-party.  We first saw that with the adoption of hosting, co-location and application services. This is now evolving into what we now call Cloud Computing - the major difference is the acquisition and delivery model has become dynamic (pay by the use) rather than static (pay for a fixed selection of services by the year.)

Jay is right to point out that Cloud services have gotten to the point that they can be used to satisfy about 80% of organization's requirements.  This fact, combined with the screaming going on, is going to make organizations move to embrace this style of computing.

Thanks, Jay, for your insight!