Does Best Practices = Monkey See, Monkey Do? - InformationWeek

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IT Leadership // CIO Insights & Innovation
Commentary
1/22/2009
01:47 PM
Fredric Paul
Fredric Paul
Commentary
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Does Best Practices = Monkey See, Monkey Do?

According to Info-Tech Research, the term "best practice" is a widely misused and misunderstood management consulting idea. Business owners and IT managers would be wise to abandon it in favor of seeking the best solutions for their unique business challenges.

According to Info-Tech Research, the term "best practice" is a widely misused and misunderstood management consulting idea. Business owners and IT managers would be wise to abandon it in favor of seeking the best solutions for their unique business challenges.Writing in bMighty.com, Info-Tech lead analyst Darin Stahl says that "best practice" does not always mean "best" for every organization, and that in many cases, companies identify only what is commonly adopted and call that "best practices."

Stahl contrasts "best practice" with what he calls "common practice," laying out the differences in 11 key areas, ranging from vendor contracting to disaster recovery planning.

Here's his take on best practice vs. common practice in Storage Consolidation, for example:

Storage Consolidation Consolidating storage in a SAN or Network Attached Storage (NAS) is a critical strategic prerequisite for server consolidation, boosting availability and disaster recovery across the server infrastructure, and ultimately moving toward an efficiently managed utility infrastructure.

Best Practice Treat storage consolidation as a strategic investment which will impact the entire data center infrastructure. Focus on how a SAN will eliminate inefficient storage silos, improve availability and disaster recovery, provide better utilization and reduced long-term storage capital expense, and enable server consolidation and virtualization. Return on storage investment will be measured in all of these areas.

Common Practice The trigger for storage consolidation is a pressing operational issue, such as looming or present failure of backup and restore processes or a server refresh involving virtualization. This considerable investment is viewed via the lens of solving this single tactical problem (as in, we will need a SAN or NAS to fix backup or to make virtualization work). It is more difficult to cost-justify the investment in terms of a single problem rather than a wider set of issues and opportunities.

Check out the other 10 IT best practices on bMighty.com at 11 IT Best Practices: Monkey See, Monkey Do?

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