The Winchester Mystery House – Don’t Let It Happen To You!

The Winchester Mystery House - Don't let it happen to you
Recently Stephen Speirs from Cisco wrote a blog post about The Winchester House, as an analogy to explain how IT often evolves in unplanned ways.

I’d like to extend Stephen’s analogy a little further by using the Winchester House as an example of what can happen when organizations over time continually enhance and upgrade their infrastructure without proper planning and foresight.

But first, what is the Winchester House? The Winchester Mystery House, located in San Jose, California, was the residence of Sarah Winchester, the widow of gun maker William Winchester. Sarah was obsessed with building out the house and so arranged for construction around the clock, from 1884 until her death in 1922.  Construction costs were estimated at about US $5.5 million in 1922; equivalent to over $75 million today.

The house’s real claim to fame however, isn’t the construction; it’s the complete lack of any master building plan. The house has 160 rooms, 24,000 square feet, 10,000 windows, 2,000 doors, 6 kitchens, 40 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, and 47 fireplaces. Sixty-five of the house’s doors lead to blank walls, 13 staircases lead nowhere, 24 skylights are covered by floors.

So how does this relate to IT?

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Wakefield Canada Gets Ready For The Cloud

Wakefield Canada is the exclusive Canadian distributor of Castrol premium lubricants and Canada’s premier integrated manufacturer and distributor of Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) under the brand name H2Blu. With a broad customer base across Canada, including retailers, warehouse distributors, quick lubes, fleet companies, new car dealers and Original Equipment Manufacturers, Wakefield prides itself on delivering intuitive customer service.

Wakefield has been on Canada’s Top 50 Best Managed Companies and Top 50 Best Employer lists for the past three years, and has received a Microsoft Pinnacle Award for its technology successes.

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3 Barriers to Innovation: Are you a Sustainer or an Innovator?

Technology continues to become more complex as siloed projects create new layers and inter-dependencies within infrastructures. That’s not to say companies don’t want to simplify their landscape. It just comes down to how much time is allocated to addressing project sprawl. The fact is that the skills gap is becoming the new “silent killer” and only surfaces when issues cause business impact.

Barrier #1: Sustaining the Technology

Just as the business and technology environment changes, so do the skills and knowledge required to sustain it. It’s hard to manage change however, when most of your time is spent on just sustaining what’s already there. In fact, in most IT organizations 70-80% of resources are spent just keeping things working, while only 20-30% of IT efforts are spent on innovation and development.

To realize the full benefits and capabilities of today’s advanced infrastructures, it’s important to have expertise that can uncover value in under utilized areas or find hidden savings that can help drive operational excellence. [Read more…]