As I look across OIT, I am reminded of the great value that we provide the University of Minnesota. But that value may be difficult to understand if it is not visible to others.
One way to make our impact more visible is to provide measurements and metrics. I prefer to mark our progress using trend graphs. This is a quick and easy way to see how things have progressed over the previous year. These trend reports also give a glimpse into the future, if we assume the trend remains relatively steady over time.
For example, I'd like to share with you three trend graphs from our hosting services:
This method of visualizing the data into a simple chart helps others to understand the information. In the above you can see that storage and backup services continue to grow very quickly. It's not difficult to extend a line through the the data, and see when in the future we might reach our limit.
In OIT, this is how we make our purchasing decisions for the next fiscal year. As you heard in the OIT all-staff meeting last week, OIT begins its budget planning process well in advance of each fiscal year.
I ask that each of you consider the work that you do, and find ways to provide measurements that you can use, and that will help your manager to make better-informed decisions. Maybe that's the number of each version of Oracle over time, or maybe that's storage used/available on each filesystem (or drive) on a server. The "Cacti" system provides some of this for us. We are planning to purchase other tools to do this for us with the SAN and backup systems.