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The topics discussed here grow out of the bread-and-butter issues that confront my consulting and software clients on a daily basis. We'll talk about prosaic stuff like Membership Management, Meetings and Events Management and Fundraising, broader ideas like security and software project management, and the social, cultural, and organizational issues that impact IT decision-making.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Don't mourn, organize!

Today's the day they bury Windows 98. The Washington Post's Rob Pegoraro writes:
Microsoft pulls the plug on Windows 98, 98 Second Edition and Millennium Edition today: no more bug fixes, no more technical support, no more nothing.
Before people start revolting in protest, consider this: It's Microsoft's business decision to make, and it makes sense.
I am sure many of our clients will mourn a little, but not I. An organization that is mourning the passing of 1998's Windows release has some real problems in the organization of its information system. Many of the non-profits that we work with have hung on to a motely crew of old pcs running a mix of vintage Windows versions, along with assorted versions of popular applications. There's an illusion -- among the execs more often than among the more technically inclined -- that by hanging on to these old systems until they finally give up the ghost, they are saving the organization money. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

I'm hoping that Microsoft's announcement will make it easier for IT personnel to make this case to their bosses. Maintaining a heterogenous collection of out-of-date platforms costs your organization money every day. But you need to stop and look closely to see it. The cost of an upgrade is a clear line item, while the costs associated with not upgrading are hidden. The less uniform your network, the more time it takes you to maintain it. Upgrading a pc that is still "working fine" is elective, while replacing a computer that has crashed is obviously a necessary expense. Never mind that the lost work time and damaged data make it a far more expensive proposition. No one would tell you to wait till your tires blow-out to replace them, but quite a few non-profits run their networks this way.

The more cost-effective alternative is to establish, as a part of your basic operating procedure, a clear concept of hardware and software lifecycle and replacement schedules. In other words: don't mourn, organize. While scheduled upgrades and replacements may appear to increase your budget, they will actually lower the volume of unplanned emergency expense, enhance your data security, lower the risk of virus and malware attack, and free up your IT staff's time to help your organization move into the future.
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Comments on "Don't mourn, organize!"


Blogger wdk said ... (July 11, 2006 at 9:11 AM) : 

I will not even mourn should Microsoft with their customer cheating strategy go bust.

There was a time, whn my compiters ran problem free and that was the time when nothing convulsed ran on my computer.

Only because many people believed Microsoft's hype marketing I had to go and buy Microsoft junk that crashes computers.

Once you tweaked it to run relatively smooth they come out with a new junk and discontinue support for their previous junk.

Security gap after security gap, crah after crash they still have not got their act together.

But believe they can continue to force customers buy their junk with their near-monopoly using all dirty tricks to keep out competitors - thanks goodness the EU are after them and rightly so.


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