Building a World Class IT Infrastructure
The objective of Harris Kern's Enterprise Computing Institute is to provide the world's foremost source of information on enterprise network computing for the 21st century. Their methodologies and techniques have proven to be successful with companies such as Standard and Poor's, Time Warner Inc., Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Brothers, CNF, TransAmerica Corporation, Sony Pictures, Fannie Mae, The Weather Channel, Hershey, The Hong Kong Jockey Club, and Hong Kong International Terminals.
This series focuses on providing a single, integrated source for the organization, people, process, and technology issues behind enterprise network computing. Organizations that master these technologies will bring together their computing infrastructure—from mainframes to client/server to the Web—into the foundation necessary to support the business objectives of tomorrow. To do so will require not only technology—that's the easy part—but also an understanding of the organization, people, and process issues.
The objective of Harris Kern's Enterprise Computing Institute is to provide the world's foremost source of information on enterprise network computing for the 21st century. During the past few years we have traveled the world assessing infrastructures for information technology (IT) organizations for Fortune 1000 companies and new upstarts that have become the major portals to the Internet, with market caps worth billions. Since 1994, we have been averaging 500,000 air miles a year in search of that elusive "world-class" IT infrastructure. We met with executives, managers, and technical staff in a variety of industries on five continents. They knew that their computing environments would not stand the test of time. They were searching for information-technology solutions to help them achieve competitive advantage. We performed over 150 infrastructure assessments, and our findings were appalling.
The IT organizations we studied were facing pressures in all of the following areas:
Inadequate, underperforming IT operations
Poor customer service
Rising IT support costs/improving cost controls
High-growth enterprise requiring rapid ramp-up and/or multiple-location infrastructure
Accomplishing more with fewer resources
These organizations were asking for help in solving technical issues, yet we found that the majority were doing a fair job with their technology. The fascinating common threads were their nontechnical problems, which centered on organization, people, and process issues. Even the new Internet and electronic-commerce–based companies had the same problems, despite the fact that they're younger companies with newer technologies.