Research has revealed the need and desire to have an effective working relationship with their IT Director was further highlighted by the poll revealing that a massive 80% of storage professionals want to learn how to manage their IT Director.
Jon Collins, CEO and Managing Director of Freeform Dynamics, said that many outsiders thought of an IT department as one entity with everyone working towards the same goal. However, he said the reality is senior figures are getting pulled in multiple directions at once and there is a lot of fragmentation, such as silo-ed applications, independent SANs, separate management tools or new technologies deployed alongside the old.
The storage arena is all about four things: capacity, throughput, service levels and sourcing. The research of over 400 organizations revealed that 40% believe the most important key factor for measuring the effectiveness of their IT Director is capacity. For 33%, service levels were key, while 25% said throughput was most important and 2% cited sourcing.
While “delegating upwards’ to an IT Director to achieve your goals may be attractive in theory, Mr. Collins believes it won’t get anyone very far. He said storage professionals must first get a clear picture of what they have, what it is supposed to be doing, what it is actually doing and where the issues are.
While building such a picture is difficult, he believes using the Pareto Principle of identifying the 20% of systems that add 80% of value or complexity will take people a long way forward: “This may sound obvious but if you already create a weekly report of exactly where things stand, then you will be in the minority.”
Building a clear picture of what you want to achieve is a means to an end: the goal is to engender trust in your IT Director that the storage environment is in safe, competent hands. This in turn will allow priorities to be set and listened to, and enable successful buy-in.
As Mr Collins points out: “If your IT Director is not expecting a business case, then you are far less likely to have it accepted. A business case should capture the detail of what you have already discussed and agreed verbally; otherwise you will face an uphill struggle.”
He concluded: “The life of the storage manager is never going to be easy. But building a relationship with the IT Director based on trust, and working together to deliver on the priorities of the business, offers a better starting point than attempting to go it alone.”
Read our complete Storage Expo 2009 coverage.