Thursday, July 27, 2006

One Big Happy Family

Why does technology cost so much? Well, ten years ago it costs a lot because the advantage of switching the technologies was so great that companies could and would and did charge a lot for it. A lot of typing pools went out of business, click-clack.

Now it's a little different because everyone is pretty much on the same playing field. We all made the switch, at least to some degree, to take advantage of the massive efficiencies in computing. But it still costs a lot of money - according to this article, between 1 and 10 percent of most budgets. And what are they spending it on? Maintenance. You know, fixing stuff that breaks. This is about 80 percent of the typical IT budget. And you know what, here's a big secret. It's boring.

Which brings me to my point about the One Big Happy Family, I'll call it the OBHF. You can't get your company to the OBHF model if 80 percent of what you do is boring, expensive maintenance. First gradually, then permanently, this will cast a long dark pall over your IT organization until there is no room for any innovation in the computer room. My point here is that this is related to the social side of sustainable computing; when people find technology boring and expensive, they will stop using it, and that's really no good for anyone. So it's really pretty simple, just eliminate the maintenance and save the company.

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