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How clear a view do you have on your IT?

Keeping a handle on the bigger picture

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Mini Poll If IT were a religion -and to some it may be - who are the high priests? In many organisations, it would be those who hold the key information, those who reserve the right to change the charts on the walls, or those who update the standards which all others must follow. Such beings go by various names, but these are less important than the information they maintain.

With this in mind, how important is it to keep such a clear view across IT as a whole? This is no idle question. We are in little doubt of the usefulness of understanding how the technical environment is structured, for example, or how tools and techniques are standardised. But we lack a clear idea of the relative importance of these different ‘big pictures’. Neither do we know precisely how well each view is being maintained across the different types of organisation.

So, without further ado, here’s a very short survey. We hope to get quite a lot out of this one, not least because it might help us better understand where efforts should best be placed. Do please fill it in, it shouldn’t take more than five minutes of your time and we’ll feed back the results sharpish.

READER POLL

1. How much emphasis is placed on dealing with the following in a structured and rigorous manner in your organization? (1=None, 5=Fanatical)

None
1

2

3

4
Fanatical
5
Maintaining overall knowledge of how the business works from a process perspective
Maintaining overall knowledge of the software and applications in use
Maintaining overall knowledge of how applications and business processes relate
Defining the tools, techniques and standards for building/integrating applications in general
Defining functional requirements for specific new or changing applications
Defining the tools, techniques and design specs for building/integrating specific applications
Defining the physical systems landscape (hardware/networking) to deploy an application

2. Who has primary responsibility for these things?

Maintaining overall knowledge of how the business works from a process perspective
Maintaining overall knowledge of the software and applications in use
Maintaining overall knowledge of how applications and business processes relate
Defining the tools, techniques and standards for building/integrating applications in general
Defining/documenting specific new or changing business processes
Defining functional requirements for specific new or changing applications
Defining the tools, techniques and design specs for building/integrating specific applications
Defining the physical systems landscape (hardware/networking) to deploy an application

3. And how well do you think the following are dealt with in your organisation? (1=Poorly, 5=Very well)

Poorly
1

2

3

4
Very Well
5

NA
Maintaining overall knowledge of how the business works from a process perspective
Maintaining overall knowledge of the software and applications in use
Maintaining overall knowledge of how applications and business processes relate
Defining the tools, techniques and standards for building/integrating applications in general
Defining functional requirements for specific new or changing applications
Defining the tools, techniques and design specs for building/integrating specific applications
Defining the physical systems landscape (hardware/networking) to deploy an application

4. Coming up a level, do you have a central group with overall responsibility for making sure your IT infrastructure hangs together and supports the business as well as possible across the board?

Yes – and we call the group:
No, this is considered a general IT management role
No, but it would be useful
No, don’t see a need
Don’t know what you mean

5. Do you have any general comments on roles, responsibilities and related challenges to do with the above areas?

6. And how well does the infrastructure hang together and support the business at an overall level?

Very well
Generally OK, but could do better
Lots of room for improvement
Major weakness
Unsure

7. Finally, approximately how many business applications are supported by your IT infrastructure?

8. Approximately how many servers make up that infrastructure?

BEFORE YOU GO

Which of the following best describes the organisation you work in?

Educational establishment
Public Sector (non education)
IT products or services vendor
Company with more than 5000 employees
Company with 250 to 4999 employees
Company with 50 to 249 employees
Company with 10 to 49 employees
Company with less than 10 employees
None of the above - please specify

Which of the following best describes your role?

Business management
Business professional
General IT management
Management of development/integration
Management of operations function
Systems architect or designer
Developer
Operations specialist
Other - please specify

Which country are you based in?

Which of the following best sums up the attitude to IT in your organisation?

An important contributor of business value
A positive enabler of operational efficiency
A necessary but burdensome cost
A complete waste of money

SANS - Survey on application security programs

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