Sandra Gittlen: On The Road Again

I don’t envy you right now. Your operations and capital budgets have been slashed, you’re short-staffed and you can’t send employees to training because it’s too costly. Yet upper management is looking to IS for advances that will reduce business costs and bring in new revenue.

Talk about being whipsawed.

Currently, I’m zigzagging the U.S. on two Network World (U.S.) Seminars and Events Tours – State of Security Town Meeting and Storage Town Meeting – and if you’re like the network executives folks I’ve talked to, your game plan looks something like this:

You’re looking to morph into a profit centre, offering storage, bandwidth and applications to departments across the company, and even to suppliers, distributors and other business partners. When you’re done with that you’ll implement Web services to simplify application integration and to facilitate access to legacy information. And when you’re done with that you’re going to make it possible for your company to handle all transactions securely on the Net.

But in every city I hear the same questions. How do I get there with a lean staff and an even leaner budget? The answer that seems to bubble up most is, you learn as many tricks as you can wherever you can.

Attend free seminars. Read everything you can about the latest technologies and how they are faring in tests. Get everything you can out of your vendors. You have the bargaining power right now, according to numerous studies, so make vendors come in and explain their products to you and your team.

Finally, talk to others within your company and find out what their expectations are. Then share your limitations. They may have suggestions you never considered, such as job sharing with another department to increase your resources or bringing in college interns. Together you can brainstorm some pretty incredible ideas.

Gittlen is Events Editor for Network World Fusion. She can be reached at