A side effect of greed is an unwillingness to spend what is needed to get the job done, especially with smaller organizations, says Craig Vickers, a partner at IT Now, a managed IT services provider for small and medium-size businesses.
"One client needed to set up a call center for 50 or 60 people," Vickers says. "We recommended a bonded T1 line for the phones, but they balked at the cost. When we came back a few months later, we opened up the telecom closet and found six DSL modems mounted to the wall. They'd created six different networks, and now they couldn't figure out why their printers wouldn't print. We had to rip them out and throw them away."
This often ends up costing companies more in the long run, he adds.
"A lot of companies think they're saving money, but in the end, they waste more on stuff they throw away instead of buying the things they needed in the first place," he says. "It's all because of greed."
IT sin No. 4: Slothful approaches to IT
IT professionals work hard -- that's a given. But all too often, they're unwilling to step outside their comfort zones or go the extra mile. Despite their hard work, IT managers often commit the sin of sloth by not doing the right things for the business.
"IT people have a fundamental belief that they're not doing anything wrong," says Tony Fisher, CEO of data-quality specialists DataFlux. "That's because they lack an understanding of the business at large. You end up with an environment where the IT manager sits in his office naive and happy, thinking he's doing all the right things, reading all the right journals, and executing everything according to specs that have everything to do with technology but little to do with the business."
For example, Fisher says this year's mortgage debt crisis might not have been so severe if the IT organizations in lending institutions had paid more attention to data quality and accuracy.
"A lot of the data collected from mortgage buyers was incorrect," says Fisher. "There are easy technical ways to validate this information and incorporate it into the system, but it was never done. They just took the information provided at face value. The mortgages were wrapped up in financial packages and sold to mutual funds and banks, but without any attempt to validate whether they were good financial purchases. Whether this was the fault of the business or IT is hard to say. But it's a problem technology could have solved."
The ways sloth can hurt IT departments is almost endless -- from lazy oversight of outsourcing arrangements to lackadaisical compliance auditing, inadequate data security, or bare-bones network monitoring.
"One very large broadband provider in the Northeast had implemented a very expensive network monitoring system they knew wasn't working right but did nothing about it," notes SolarWinds' Stephens. "Then one day, they had an outage affecting over a million people. They had no idea what was happening until their customers started calling them. If they'd implemented even a basic working NMS [network monitoring system], they'd have treated their customers a lot better."
Given the current economic conditions, now is an especially good time to be proactive and busy, says Dave Taylor, co-founder of Sparxent, an IT management solutions vendor.