Monday, October 5, 2015

VP of Electricity

Randy Rayess on techcrunch proposes that the CIO is the next VP of Electricity.

Imagine the turn of the 20th century, electricity delivery for a company had to be managed.  Often companies would stand up their own infrastructure to deliver electricity within a building or factory.  To support this infrastructure, there would be a team of electrical specialists, electricians, that would maintain the equipment and support the infrastructure.  Once electricity became a utility, much of this was replaced by the vendor and sold as-a-Service to the customer.

Comparing that to the CIO is interesting because there are some parallels, but not entirely and not in the single component delivery requirement that was under the VP of Electricity.

Consider, for instance, that the CIO's primary goal is to keep the IT Infrastructure delivering the application.  Actually applications.  <--  The plural is incredibly important here. It's not a single service, it's tens, hundreds, sometimes even thousands of applications.

These applications need to inter-operate enough to use common foundational services like networking and data center, platform systems and virtualization, and the growing analytics necessary to make ever increasing critical business decisions.  While we may think about them from a consumption perspective, and that reduces many of the applications to in-business-quarter costs, which is great for current business controlling their financial run rate, but

Inter-operation doesn't happen by magic and someone needs to be in a position to manage these as-a-Service applications before they sprawl into a buffet style line of out of control applications that not only don't support the business objectives, but don't deliver the critical value that is required by the business.  Not to mention the potential risks of data breach and loss that happen when applications are deployed without planning.

Then, consider that the cost of electricity isn't going down.  At best, it's stagnant over long periods of time at commercial rates, but the cost is going up and it's guaranteed to go up.  The use of electricity is also increasing as we put in more general purpose hardware to support more applications on even more virtualized platforms.

My contention to the article is that while we don't need the turn of the 20th century VP of Electricity, we do need to continue to think about the sunk cost in the delivery of applications.  We need to have someone thinking about the plethora of applications needed by each industry to operate as well as the infrastructure and critical access to both private and public services.

Who better than the person that understand's the business demand.

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