Technology Lock-In - The “Hidden Threat” of On-premises IT Infrastructure
Does your on premises IT infrastructure increase your risk of staying with a technology long after it provides value to your organization?
Let’s look at a typical scenario. You’re a CIO or IT director that has finally secured funding for a disaster recovery project; something beyond the backup tapes and off-site storage that you’ve done in the past. The CEO and CFO funded the project because they’re concerned about a business problem – the risk and cost of application outages, whether it be half a day from a failed server or a building loss that might represent weeks of downtime.
You ask your smart IT architect and systems administrators to review and select a disaster recovery technology that will work with your existing in-house data center equipment and software. The architect and administrators are excited about the project. They likely will study three to six different technologies, narrowing them down to one or two, then finally choosing one, and purchasing hardware, software and training. Once trained, they commence the implementation, and after a successful install, they implement the ongoing maintenance routine into the normal flow of projects and work.
So where’s the threat? The cost of reviewing, getting up-to-speed and implementing a technology is often understated. It’s almost always hundreds of hours of work and can sometimes reach into the thousands of hours, even in midsized organizations. More worrisome is the ongoing maintenance of the technology. As time passes or as the business changes, new technology alternatives emerge that can better address the business problem (reducing lost revenue from application outages). But the sunk-cost fallacy causes you and the team to think about all of the time you spent previously on research and selection, plus the training costs and the high cost to switch.
What’s the alternative? Use cloud infrastructure and cloud services to address the risks of minor business interruptions and disasters. Let the cloud disaster recovery provider choose (and possibly change over time) the underlying technologies associated with meeting the CEO and CFO goals of reduced application outages. You address the risk issue without sinking hundreds of FTE hours selecting, learning, training on, implementing and supporting a technology that is very likely to change.
You still must perform due diligence on the cloud provider. Nonfunctional requirements like financial stability and research capability often carry as much weight as service-level agreements and operational models. All cloud providers are not created equal. But the benefits are clear: better business alignment with dramatically less tactical IT effort.
Are you concerned that your in-house infrastructure might be limiting the way you help your organization? Contact me; let’s talk about it.
Doug Theis is the Director of Market Strategy in Expedient’s Indianapolis market focused on engaging with and improving the regional IT community through planning, sponsoring and attending community events, facilitating IT-focused continuing education opportunities, and sharing strategies, tactics, and research to help IT professionals stay abreast of best practices and industry trends. Connect with Doug at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter.