Some companies have chosen to outsource their IT Departments (support has been outsourced for many years). Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing IT. Years ago when I worked as an IT consultant, Fisheries & Oceans Canada was one of my clients. During that time the head of their IT department retired. I was quite surprised when I met his replacement. The individual was previously a manager with Transport Canada and he had very limited IT knowledge. He was however a very good manager, a good listener and a quick learner. How important do you think it is for the IT manager to have IT skills. Is it good enough to just have great management skills, after all, the staff all have good IT skills. Discuss the pros and cons of this scenario.
Another example from my IT consulting days also comes from the Department of Fisheries & Oceans (DFO). Over 20 years ago DFO decided to undertake a large reengineering project where all data associated with Fisheries (in Western Canada) would no longer be managed by individual departments within DFO but would instead be included in a massive data warehouse. This data included all sorts of things such as the names of streams and rivers, commercial, native and sport fishery information( eg. annual catch by species, location, etc), international fishery information, environmental information, fish hatchery information, biological information, etc. As you might expect, there were all sorts of problems and challenges such as: Names of everything needed to be standardized. For example a stream will often have a local name, a historical name (ie. First Nations) and a legal gazetted name. Some fish species have several names, etc.
Everyone wanted to use the name they were used to. Employees resisted change as some were afraid they would no longer be needed. Everything seemed to be so much harder than the old way. People still collected and used data the old way along with the new way so there was a lot of duplication of effort and the new system was in the danger of underutilization. While data was retained and accuracy, etc. was increased, there was a danger that information would be lost. People that had worked with the data for years in their old systems had knowledge about the data that could not easily be captured in a Data Warehouse. The conversion project seemed to go on forever and costs kept growing. This resulted in reduced senior management support. Should DFO have undertaken this project? Everything seemed to be working fine with the old system. Obviously there are lots of potential advantages to a Data Warehouse and that was why they started the project. What could they have done differently to ensure the success of this project?