Gil Hecht

Why Do Infrastructure People Get Fired?

  • June 10, 2015
  • 3 min read

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Remember the old slogan?

“No one ever got fired for buying IBM”

Last week I read an interesting article by Duncan Epping, which reminded me of this marketing slogan, originally used by IBM in the 70s. The slogan was actually so successful that it has been used by many other top-tier vendors since. But let’s take a moment to think about it. Do people really get fired because they decided on a certain vendor over the other? I doubt it.

So what does get IT infrastructure people fired? Going back to Duncan, it seems that he believes the real reason is mainly incompetency that leads to crucial mistakes with serious business impact. Or in his words:

“People get fired for being incompetent / lazy / stupid. In the case of infrastructure and workloads that translates in to managing and placing workloads incorrectly or misconfiguring infrastructure. Fatal mistakes which result in data loss or long periods of downtime, that is what gets you fired.”

I don’t think IT infrastructure professionals are incompetent, lazy, or stupid. They don’t get fired for lack of effort. But I do agree that it is not as much the vendor you are deciding upon, but rather your ability to implement and manage the technology to perform as intended. Now, one could claim that IBM (or any other top-tier vendor) provides top-rated customer support, thus the chances of failing to correctly implement or configure these systems are low. However, the days that our entire IT infrastructure ran on IBM technology are long gone. In fact, today’s infrastructure is more heterogeneous than ever before. This puts us in a place where not only we need to be sure that our IBM configuration is flawless, but we must also be able to align it with other systems and different layers/teams within our infrastructure.

How to Ensure Flawless Cross-vendor Configuration?

Staying on top of your diversified IT infrastructure configurations is becoming increasingly challenging. Our recent ITOA Survey found that only 57% of critical IT issues are detected or fixed before they adversely impact the business.

This means that we expose our business to critical issues on a regular basis. As a result, the survey further shows that only 29% of the companies consistently meet or exceed their KPI goals. And when one or more of these issues disrupts our business with a critical system outage, for example, then whomever is in charge might be losing their job.

But how can we avoid these failures? What can we do to ensure flawless cross-vendor configuration and resiliency in our infrastructure?

While there is no way to remove 100% of the risk, the best we can do is exercise competency. Competency in this case means taking proactive measures to analyze the many different configurations and connections to ensure that critical mistakes are either avoided in the first place or identified before they adversely impact the business.

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