Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Good Practice, Best Practice, Leading Methods

You say tomato, I say tomato (say, that doesn't work so well in print). A rose by any other name is just as thorny, that much is certain at least, and there are often objections to the term 'best practice'. Although it is meant to capture practices that are generally accepted by everyone else, and that the 'man on the Bondi tram' might adopt if he thought about it, there are some who consider that 'best practice' is code for 'doing what our competitors did five years ago'. And certainly there are some aspects of this - that 'best practice' is not necessarily 'best', it is just what everyone else is doing.

Still, it's a good place to start, surely, and if it isn't a place where competitive advantage can be gained (even unsustainable competitive advantage) for your business, why bother reinventing the wheel?

I note this recent article at NetworkWorld that discusses ITIL and COBIT, and discusses the two of them as being complementary, and in fact that they can result in more returns when coupled together. Certainly the news that 75% of IT Managers in the United States have plans to implement ITIL, or at least are thinking very strongly about it. When you check the fine print, of course, you realise that it isn't that scientific a study (all those attending a conference on IT Service Management) but it probably provides some interesting flavour of what's going on in the real world.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Disaster Recovery Planning Made Simple

Disaster recovery and contingency planning have been highlighted in the past week as the biggest issue since sliced bread started getting mouldy, as Hurricane Katrina hit NOLA hard and fast. In its wake was left the startling realisation that even the richest country in the world can have infrastructure devastated and destroyed by the forces of nature. The cost of the disaster is $US100 billion and climbing, with a significant part of that the IT Infrastructure.

And the week prior to that was the Zotob worm, which shut down Holden’s processing plants for a day (estimated costs: $A6,000,000 and yes, I checked the zeros).

In the IT context, both these events show that there is an increasing reliance upon information technology, and clearly business continuity plans are going to be top of the charts again for a while for our clients. This also comes back to IS Strategy and Governance procedures for clients. The facts bear out the old adage that luck is the residue of good planning – good IS Strategies and Business Continuity planning will help business A survive and business B not.

Probably a future cause celebre fot IT Disaster Planning - although some would perhaps suggest that it has worked too well - has been, which is an ISP operating in a New Orleans downtown skyscraper that has maintained its connection to the internet throughout the disaster. Its biggest problem now is that it is getting many hits from around the world because people are blogging about it (just as I am now) which is causing some stress on their connectivity.

They have also maintained a blog about the disaster throughout, as reported by The Register and located at /

Interestingly, at least partly because of this blog, the ongoing debate about the issues related to blogs and their journalistic integrity has now tended to swung in favour of the humble blogger who, as johnny-on-the-spot in a time like this, tends to report what they see rather than filter it through the eyes of a journalist - which is both its strength and its weakness, clearly.