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The Cost of Doing Nothing
My father always said, “If it’s working, don’t fix it!” It is great advice and I still don’t fiddle with things that don’t need fixing – but I have, in life and in my career, encountered scenarios that definitely cannot be left alone for too long.
Here are a few examples:
Your Quiet 2-year-old
We all know that feeling. Your toddler is quiet. Too quiet – but it is great! You have a short respite while you think they are either sitting quietly or happily entertaining themselves. You feel that you are not needed so you have a chance to sit back and relax.
On further inspection, however, you find that they have drawn lines with a permanent marker all over the wall, furniture and your new flatscreen TV!
That is why I think all parents have an internal reminder to check up on kids when they get too quiet…
Great Bespoke Software
Sometimes in an organisation, you just have a great piece of software. It works well, requires low maintenance and is custom built for your company.
Then Microsoft announces another operating system (OS) upgrade – and it is the best marketing campaign since “diamonds are a girl’s best friend” because your users are convinced that we all need to upgrade, now!
But, your great piece of software is not compatible, so you squash premature upgrades and extend the life of your current OS by a few years.
Inevitably, though, you are faced with expiring OS support and legacy software that has no roadmap to support a new OS.
Sweating Assets Past EOL/EOS
I worked for a bank for many years and one of the projects on our radar was to upgrade the redundancy for our internet banking services.
Everything was ready for switchover – but because internet banking is a 24/7 service, our change control kept being declined because some stakeholder was not happy permitting 15 minutes of downtime for the switchover.
Over time, the situation escalated to a point where the production infrastructure was at risk of failing with no supporting SLA to bring it back up again. We covered all risks with the new design but if we couldn’t actually use it, it was useless!
I was reminded of this when I saw a recent audit completed for a client. They have assets that have been past their support dates for more than ten years. Not just a few assets either – there were many.
This is okay in any environment for a short while, as long as you can manage the risk and provide a similar replacement asset within an agreed SLA.
* Data as shown in a report generated in 2021.
Remember when you first surfed the internet after a bandwidth upgrade? It was wonderful!
Then, over time, your perception is that things slow down and one day things are just painfully slow…
In reality, it is just that your bandwidth being used up and there are now multiple devices fighting for their slice of it.
It is fine to keep adding devices that use the internet but at some point… it turns into complete saturation.
Keep an eye on your usage trends, because eventually, the cost of leaving things as is for too long leaves you with less bandwidth.
So, although the cost and risk of doing nothing initially may be very low – over time, the risk increases substantially.
We need to find the sweet spot and act while the risk is still fairly low.
Cost is generally increased during high-risk situations. It calls for greater urgency, more dedicated resources and more exacting timelines to expedite resolution projects.
The same can be said for cost over time. If issues are left alone for too long, there is a chance that costs will escalate with the increased risk.