How to plan effective IT strategies and get funding

An Information Technology department is often associated with being a cost center due to the nature of its operations. IT departments are, as a result, often delegated as support or service units to the company’s economic drivers, the business units. For this reason, most IT managers and executives often find themselves hard pressed when it comes to seeking funding for IT projects or initiatives. If you’re an IT manager, you can expect the usual barrage of questions from top management on matters such as Return on Investment (ROI), cost benefit analysis, or anything that has to do with the company’s bottom-line.

One long-term plan that an IT manager can build a strategy on is how to drive the gradual transformation of an IT department from a cost center to a profit center. A lot of planning needs to be done for this to be successful.

An effective IT strategy plan includes: setting goals, analyzing all of the risks involved (Risk Management), knowing your team and your plan’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities for improvement, and identifying all the threats to reaching a desired goal or objective.

I’ll tackle some of the goals that an IT manager can focus on to help facilitate this transformation in my future blogs.

Momsie and Popsie

We had a great family reunion in Subic over the weekend. We finally had the chance to meet my mom’s fiance, Dan, or as the kids call him, Popsie. Dan arrived from the US Friday evening of the 20th. It’s too bad we weren’t able to bring out the welcome banners and ticker tape parade for his arrival. But we also knew that my mom would have wanted some privacy. 🙂 The brothers four, Jojo, Bong, Ding, and yours truly (with our respective families, of course) joined the couple last Sunday, the 22nd. The day started with a solemn mass. Most of our relatives were there to show their support. Among those present were my grandparents and some of my uncles and aunts from mom’s side. Dan had to do the formal “pamamanhikan” Filipino tradition and it was interesting to see my grandparents give their daughter away again, haha! 🙂

I’m so happy and excited for my mom. And I wish her and “Popsie” all the best. I’m glad that she’ll finally marry again after all these years, and to someone who we feel is perfect for her.

She’ll be leaving for the States soon to marry him. And hopefully we’ll come visit her there afterwards.

On another note, CJ had an absolutely great time especially with his cousins around. He kept shouting and playing with grownups and kids alike. And what made the day more special for us was that CJ was also 11th months old that day! We’re gearing up for his first birthday next month and we’ve been busy preparing for this as well.

Zimmie life

I really missed blogging. It’s mainly because I’ve been kept busy with my new job.

So how is it? Well, here’s a story I would like to share. I was driving home with Conne one night after a long day’s work. We were both toxic-silent the first few minutes of the ride when all of a sudden I blurted out: “You know what, I really love my job!” To be able to blurt the words out without giving it much thought meant that I really love what I’m doing right now. Even though the job functions, compared to my previous jobs, were a bit the same, the new work environment really helped me look at my job in a different light. The DirectWithHotels culture, aka Zimmie culture, was just what the doctor ordered. I remember an old adage that goes, “If you love your work, then you’ll never work a single day for the rest of your life.” Well, amen to that!

And so, this Zimmie promoter says: “Full steam ahead!”

Squabble time

My scheduled traffic court hearing got canceled today apparently due to the current political situation over at Makati City Hall, where the adjudication office is located. It’s too bad because I was really eager to get the whole thing over with.

As a side note, Makati Mayor Binay is in a lot of heat, which to me and to most people I know, is what was to be expected because of his affiliation with the current Philippine government’s opposition group. I personally think that Mayor Binay and company are doing a great job running the city. My traffic ticket woes might have been because of the overly strict “Republic of Makati” ordinances, but then again, I’d rather be caught here in Makati instead of anywhere else. It isn’t his fault that some of these MAPSA traffic guys are just not that competent enough in fulfilling their roles (the majority are competent, mind you, I wouldn’t want to incur their wrath, would I? Ha!). Oh well, at least they’re a whole lot better than most of the MMDA traffic aides out there.

I wonder where our country is headed. With our leaders squabbling non-stop, what hope is there for us? I guess we’ll just have to continually strive to be good citizens, and to pray.

I would want to live by the maxim: Leadership, Friendship and Service. I just hope our leaders do the same.

Car trouble

When it rains, it pours. I had a week’s worth of rotten luck with our car, “Puti”.

Incident 1: Date: Friday, October 6, 7:00PM.
Violation: Blocking the Buendia-Ayala pedestrian lane.
End Result: Traffic Violation Ticket plus my driver’s license got confiscated. I have filed a complaint with the Makati City Adjudication Office and a hearing is scheduled on the 17th.

My thoughts: I was wrongfully charged. It was a little over 7PM when we were driving Eastbound through heavy traffic along Buendia. We were caught between yellow and red traffic signals as we were about to cross the Ayala-Buendia intersection, which naturally forced me to stop. But I couldn’t come to a complete halt immediately because of the cars that were tailgating me. And so I ended up blocking part of the Buendia pedestrian lane and had no way of backing up or moving forward. A traffic enforcer comes up to me, asks for my driver’s license, says some jibberish, doesn’t hear me out, and finally cockily gives me a ticket and says he would’t have given me a ticket if I had just said sorry and didn’t contest the “violation”. Yeah right! I did apologize and I didn’t even lift my voice. I guess some people really have selective hearing. And whatever happened to fighting for what you believe is right? See you in court buddy!

Incident 2: Date: Wednesday, October 11, 5:30PM.
Violation: Illegal Parking. The car was parked facing the wrong way.
End Result: The car got towed.
Damage: Php 1,000.00 towing and impound fee.

My Thoughts: My fault. Sorry. Guilty as charged. Tsk!

Bad weather blues

The recent typhoon that hit the Philippines last September 29th, dubbed Typhoon “Milenyo”, was a learning experience. It was, to recent memory, one of the worst natural disasters that I have experienced, although it still couldn’t compare to my 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption experience.

The weather started out pleasantly on the day the typhoon was supposed to hit the metropolis, and so we thought that it was just one of those weather forecast false alarms. Little did we know that everything would change drastically in such a short span of time. I was at the office when the typhoon started to show some oomph.Management had to take a call and eventually decided to suspend work operations but unfortunately some of us found out that it would be better to stay indoors instead of taking a chance traveling back home. The rain and wind had so much nastiness in it that people wouldn’t dare go outdoors. Trees, poles, signboards, and what-have-you fell. The metropolis never knew what hit it. People were unprepared. It was a disaster alright.

An hour’s worth of fury brought in more than a week’s worth of suffering. At work, our building had no power and we had to rely on generators to power us up. Business email and internet connectivity was disrupted. And in our line of business, uptime for these services was critical.

At home, our block had no electricty and water for a week. Some of our neighbors had power after a couple of days and it turned out that we were tapped into a different powergrid! Bummer.

I just couldn’t stand the sight of CJ crying at night because he couldn’t sleep. And so we had to check in and out of hotels just to get a decent night’s rest. Sigh.I’m glad it’s all over. This ought to be a wakeup call for everyone.

For businesses, this is where a good Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plan will prove invaluable. And at work, this is what I have to help draft up next.