The Cost of IT Complexity: Is Your Inner Geek Harming Your Company?

Sovereign Systems

by Sovereign Systems

Most IT types, like me, are in this field for the love technology.  We love the intricacy of the devices. We love the arcane nature of the work that makes us feel like the sci-fi wizards we grew up reading about in comic books and William Gibson novels. And, at the end of the day we love the inherent fun and reward of just getting stuff to work!

But beyond the romance and challenge that draws us to technology, many of us champion our inner geek to help us differentiate ourselves from the crowd. Where “normal people” are leery of working in a jargon laden field that is so seemingly foreign – we thrive in this complex environment. Our passion to impress, as the smartest person in the room, is what gets us through the ten hour troubleshooting fire drills and days of reading bone dry white papers. We are the IT superheroes others turn to, to design, implement and run all this back office mumbo jumbo!

So what’s wrong with this logic? Well, believe it or not, the answers may persuade you to control your inner geek.

Truth be told, the motives listed above can sometimes lead us to make some pretty bad decisions. The very complexity, inaccessibility and difficulty which draws us to the work is more of a “necessary evil” than a good thing; an evil for the companies we work for and ultimately an evil for us.

By virtue of being complex, implementing these solutions can be extremely time consuming as it often takes substantially longer to get operations back up and running; due to the inherent difficulty and likelihood for misconfiguration and reconfiguration. These complex solutions also require highly specialized knowledge and expertise, which is a challenge to find, let alone hire. All of which equates to a greater administrative burden (AKA man hours). And who “pays” for this burden? Either the business that must hire additional staff or (more commonly) the existing on-staff IT super heroes who famously sacrifice their personal quality of life to combat the evil!

Don’t be fooled people – complexity is a cost. In fact, it is a key cost factor that is too often overlooked. While complexity is not the only or primary factor when it comes to IT design and infrastructure, it most certainly should be considered as part of any IT purchasing decisions and openly recognized, accounted for, and intentionally captured on the correct side of the balance sheet.

We must use this kind of “methodical thinking” – especially when we’re excited to implement a new technical solution. We must look past the minutia of “how” to do something and first focus on the potential budgetary implications, weighing the options on whether a proposed complex solution should be implemented at all.

My message fellow IT superheroes – is this: the time has come to control your inner geek. Despite what that little nerd voice in your head says, these technologies are not our toys. They are business tools and if we are to continue as true IT super heroes we must make it our mission to implement solutions that work with as little fuss and cost as possible.

So tell me are you an IT super hero? Or an IT villain? How have you been fiscally responsible? What strategies do you use to control your inner IT geek?

By: Anonymous Inner Geek turned IT Superhero