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Building a World Class IT Infrastructure

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Over the next few months, the authors of Harris Kern’s Enterprise Computing Institute will provide feature articles for InformIT readers outlining the processes, methodologies, and organizational structures to help you build that elusive "world-class" infrastructure.
Placing special emphasis on a comprehensive approach combining organization, people, process, and technology, Harris Kern’s Enterprise Computing Institute is recognized as one of the world’s premier sources for CIOs and IT professionals concerned with managing information technology. Come to our special Harris Kern Enterprise Computing Institute Store to receive discounts on this and other titles in the series.
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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

  • Outsourcing

  • High-growth enterprise requiring rapid ramp-up and/or multiple-location infrastructure

  • Accomplishing more with fewer resources

  • Global competition

  • Budget constraints

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.

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