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Operations vs Project: The Secret Innovation Killer

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James Keatingby James Keating III, Business Technology Architect, Evolving Solutions

Over the years I have worked for both large enterprises and also small businesses and all of them had an IT dilemma that was rarely spoken about, but was just a fact of life. The dilemma I am talking about is the operations vs project that all IT teams face. This is the concept of doing operations well (which is required to maintain the current business) but also being able to get new project work done which is the place that innovation and business growth happens. The issue is many IT shops have many of the technical teams splitting time between both sides (operations and project), however this setup often leads to either operational corners being cut to meet project demand, or projects not happening which means a loss of innovation and improvement. A side effect of this type of setup is it is difficult to really know how much innovation is being lost, or how much risk is being put onto operations as true accounting for either side of the equation is difficult at best in this blended model.

To make this concept more easily seen if you will, let’s take a small business that has an IT team of 3 people.  This team of three is responsible for all of the following operational areas:

  • System administration (Operating System and Hypervisor)
  • Storage administration
  • Backup and archive administration
  • On-call support frontline
  • On-call support backline
  • Data center operations
  • Back office software support
  • Data security (firewall and virus etc)
  • Compliance and change control
  • Mobility and support
  • All project work requiring IT assistance
  • Constant improvement of IT process

When you list it out like this you can quickly see that a team of 3 will find it difficult even with a very small and relatively static environment to be able to do all of those functions at a high level. I would argue it would be difficult for them to even do the majority of those functions at an adequate level. So the outcome is many things that could drive more business, improve operations and reduce risk or things that could contribute directly to the bottom line of the business don’t get done in favor of the fire of the moment so to speak. It is like the old saying “It is hard to remember the goal is to drain the swamp when you are up to your ears in alligators.”

So how can a business help this situation out without a lot of change in process and tons of additional headcount? I would suggest looking at taking two or three of the items off the list in a manner of speaking by using cloud or as a service offerings. The easiest of these is likely hosted Exchange. It is tried and true, relatively inexpensive and can free up time from an employee to work on other areas, and further provides some risk mitigation to operations as hosted Exchange comes with a 99.9% uptime SLA. Integration and implementation of a service like Exchange is something that Evolving Solutions can help you with and free up those cycles near instantly for your administrators.

For more details on what an engagement would look like and pricing contact Evolving Solutions today.


James Keating III is a Business Technology Architect for Evolving Solutions. James is a technology leader in the IT community and brings a combination of excellent technical skills and business acumen which allows him to guide customers in developing IT solutions to meet business requirements.