Deployment Disasters: What Can You Do?

A botched deployment is not only a waste of time and money, it can also throw your IT workforce into chaos. Sonny Discini offers a lesson in how to navigate this technical and political minefield.


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Posted September 29, 2005

Sonny Discini

When we think of an enterprise deployment, we think of a well-planned, well-funded and well-staffed event. Most of the time this is the case but on occasion a deployment can be thrown together like a cheap suit, and worse yet, appear like one to the rest of the organization.

The pace of enterprise computing has significantly quickened over the last few years. Many IT shops are poised to respond to corporate needs from a reactive standpoint, rather than proactive. Let's not forget that IT shops are being dwindled down now unlike days past when IT was relatively spared from the sharp pencil of the bookkeeper.

A shorter amount of time is available for IT techs and engineers to learn more complex applications and hardware platforms. Meanwhile, management has widened the disconnect between technical and engineering mechanics and plausible deliverables. No single thing can be attributed directly to failure, but when you add all of them together, you have a recipe for a deployment disaster.

Harsh Lessons

On a lovely late summer afternoon, the security team delivered its quarterly security stance metrics. Like many organizations, spyware is one of the top three issues that plague the enterprise. Because management's perception changes like the wind, one is never sure what will be focused on from quarter to quarter.

On this fine day, management zeroed in on spyware. They wanted an answer and they wanted it fast. The typical parameters were placed on this urgent request: little to no money, an impossibly narrow delivery window, and a thinly sliced staff. All the wonderful things that you love to hear.

An amazing thing happened next. A cold-call spyware vendor rep actually made it past the gauntlet of individuals who filter these types of calls. Even more amazing, they managed to score a face-to-face visit with the security official.

The vendor came in with an enterprise-class product that normally sold for around $40 a seat. When you multiply this by 15,000 workstations, we quickly scoffed at the idea and were ready to press the vendor ejector button. Jokingly, the security official said, ''Unless you guys are willing to give me this product for a dollar a seat, we've just run out of time.'' As I was getting out of my seat, the sales rep did something that I still cant believe. He agreed.

Little did we know that all the ingredients for a deployment disaster were now in place.

This article was first published on EnterpriseITplanet.com. To read the full article, click here.

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