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Shifting from Tactical to Strategic Data Tier…

One of our Microsoft SQL Server Consultants talks about how shifting from Tactical to Strategic Data Tier can win over your Finance Director…

“There is no denying, out of the top 10 current issues for CXO, there are always 3 or 4 that relate to data and the data platform. Getting the data platform right is probably the biggest challenge in IT today. Data is growing on average 50% every year. If you break apart that number this means:

• 50% Disk Storage
• 50% More Data processing
• 50% Longer Maintenance Windows
• 50% Larger Backups
Keeping up with this trend, as you can see can be an expensive operation. If it is looked at tactically, this will involve going to the FD, cap in hand asking repeatedly for more budget to cope with these demands by the business. Each time wear down the carpet going to visit the FD, he can often seem increasingly impatient and the famous phrases such as “I thought we bought storage last month”, “disks in PC World only cost £99”, may become a more regular occurrence.
While adding storage or implementing solutions in a tactical manner it is likely to be an easier “sell” to the FD, this can often mask the more costly impact over the long term. But this also has a reduced impact on your operations. Adding a “few extra disks” for storage on your ERP, is not going to help solve issues with overnight backups. Solving the two becomes counterproductive, adding more storage to your IT estate will more than likely increase backup time. When it becomes critical for this to be fixed then this will now ultimately cost more…
…and FD, wont thank you for it…

Where am I spending my Budget?

It is now typical for an Operational budget to spend 80% of the overall IT budget, this is budget used for maintaining rather than for innovation. Think about it, this is tactical spend, not strategic. Is there a way to change this?
Perhaps the above scenario would be aligned better with a data archiving project. This would meet both tactical goals of reduced backup times (less data) and fix the live storage shortage.
While the economics for a single Archiving project may appear to be more expensive than just “adding new disk”, over the longer term this would ultimately be cheaper than continually adding storage in a linear manner.
This means 1 trip to the FD, 1 business case and 1 demonstrated ROI, which I’m sure you will agree is difficult, but you do it once rather than rinse and repeat.
What to do next? – Join the dots.

Start to bring together your issues and problems within your data platform. There may some simple yet powerful associations that can be made.

For example, see our white paper on Data Platform Modernisation. Here we use an upgrade of SQL to consolidate and introduce layered HA to the data centre.
Also, start to follow the simple guidelines below:
1. Assess a timeline – Strategic projects often run longer, set the expectations with the FD and expect returns from 6-9months.
2. What’s your downtime? – Assess how much potential revenue your business would lose if its critical systems were down for 15 seconds, 15 minutes, 15 hours? How if your strategic solution going to impact this? What’s your SLA, are these right?
3. Know the full story– Introducing new technologies can solve many residual issues, and introduce some of their own. Be aware of these as well as quantify the risks of “do nothing”.
4. Build your Business Case –putting the effort into 1 business case can save many trips to the FD later.
5. Pay back through cross charging? – One way some CXO’s are offsetting the costs of their strategic IT projects is through cross charging. This changes the emphasis on IT as a “cost” to IT as a “Customer facing enabler”. IT becomes transparent and transferable.”

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