Open Group EA 2007: Andres Carvallo

Andres Carvallo is the CIO for Austin Energy. He was just speaking on how the Internet has changed the power industry. He brought up the point that we’ve all experienced, where we must call our local power company to tell them that the power is out. Take this in contrast to the things you can do with package delivery via the Internet, and it shows how the Internet age is changing customer expectations. While he didn’t go into this, my first reaction to this was that IT is much like the power company. It’s all too often that we only know a system is down because an end user has told us so.

This leads to discussion of something that is all too frequently overlooked, which is the management of our solutions. Visibility into what’s going on is all too often an afterthought. If you exclusively focus on outages, you’re missing the point. Yes, we do want to know when the .001% of downtime occurs. What makes things more important, however, is an understanding of what’s going on the other 99.999% of the time. It’s better to refer this as visibility rather than monitoring, because monitoring leads to narrow thinking around outages, rather than on the broader information set.

Keeping with the theme of the power industry, clearly, Austin Energy needs to deal with the varying demands of the consumers of their product. That may range from some of the major technology players in the Austin area versus your typical residential customer. Certainly, all consumers are not created equal. Think about the management infrastructure that must be in place to understand these different consumers. Do you have the same level of management in your IT solutions to understand different consumers of your services?

This is a very interesting discussion, especially given today’s context of HP’s acquisition of Opsware (InfoWorld report, commentary/analysis from Dana Gardner and Tony Baer).

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