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How Did Things Get So Bad?

For the past decade, applications development has thrived, regardless of the evolution in technology or major data-processing paradigm shifts. The focus has been on deploying systems as quickly as possible. But that same can't be said of the infrastructure, especially since client/server hit the scene. Infrastructure issues have taken a backseat—actually, they weren't even on the bus.

From the 1970s through the mid-1980s the infrastructure was the number one priority in IT. The customer's applications or systems development efforts were a close second. The frustrations for IT's customers were insurmountable; at times they would have to wait up to a year for their applications to be developed or for major revisions to existing applications.

With the advent of client/server there was no longer a dependency on the centralized IT organization and its bureaucratic ways. Customers were designing and developing their own systems (with the latest and greatest technology) in weeks or months, and the infrastructure organization was left behind supporting legacy environments. In the 1990s, the priority was 95% development. Infrastructure development didn't have a prayer. IT's priorities shifted to support the customer's development efforts. (It was the politically correct focus for the CIO.) The majority of resource and budget supported these endeavors. But let's not dwell on the past.

IT needs to focus on how to quickly build a world-class infrastructure. Keep in mind that infrastructures have been eroding for over a decade and the issues can't be resolved overnight. Many companies are desperately trying to catch up, but can't because of limited budgets and resources.

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