back to article Prevention is better than cure

Delivering a service is dependent on getting networks, storage, servers, operating systems, middleware and applications to work together to agreed levels. But we know how difficult it is to keep these complex chains running reliably; and problems gets more acute as we throw virtualisation in to the mix. The answer is to keep on …

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Conflict of interest

Prevention may be cheaper than cures for a business - but for the support team it can be the kiss of death.

No support team ever got rewarded for the number of problems that don't happen. All that happens to a trouble-free IT environment is that the support staff gets cut (why do we need 12 techies, when nothing ever goes wrong? says the C-level exec). Then, when all the nipped-in-the-bud problems do turn into major crises, the whole mess gets outsourced.

The ideal situation for IT-ers who work in support but wish to keep their jobs and show how valuable they are, is to walk the tightrope between letting day-to-day problems grow to the point where they just start to cause pain, and then to fix them quickly - before they start to cause any major outages or suffering. Ideally problems should be limited to the CEOs machine, as this is almost certainly the most highly visible, yet least important box in the shop.

The tricky bit is to ensure that the number of problems remains high enough to justify the number and cost of IT support, while demonstrating "constantly improving kwality" by showing a long term reduction in outages, MTTR and cost per incident. Obviously, the most effective and reliable way to do this is to cook the monthly reports (just like every other service-orientated business group does)

To aid in this strategy, it's necessary to have a regular flow of new technologies and IT products coming into the organisation. Not to improve or expand the business - as IT almost never does this, but to provide new sources of errors, problems and outages to preserve the jobs of the support staff. As well as continued employment for all the developers, systems architects and managers.

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