About This Case


3 Feb 2010, 11:59PM PT

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24 Jan 2010, 11:31AM PT


  • Enterprise Software & Services
  • Hardware
  • IT / IT Security
  • Start-Ups / Small Businesses / Franchises

Propose a Webinar On Building A Business Case For IT Investments


Closed: 3 Feb 2010, 11:59PM PT

Earn up to $500 for Insights on this case.

Sun and Intel are interested in holding a webinar around the topic of building a business case for IT investments -- specifically for server datacenters. They are looking for experts to be featured in a 1-hour online webinar that will be broadcast live in mid-February (exact time to be determined). A 1-hour practice run will also be required prior to the broadcast date.

We are looking for you to submit proposals that would describe a webinar topic that you would be willing to discuss. If your topic is chosen, then you will then need to be available to participate in the online webinar, hosted by Techdirt's Mike Masnick.

The potential topics that we are interested in are:

  1. An overview of the major factors behind IT investment decisions
  2. Justifications that can turn a "nice to have" project into a "need to have" datacenter project
  3. Success stories about long-term datacenter development strategies
  4. Lessons learned from previous datacenter investment decisions
  5. Mistakes to avoid for major IT investments

Your proposal does not have to deal with all of these topics; these are suggestions meant to serve as a guide.

In your proposal, please include:

  • The headline of your proposed webinar.
  • A description for the webinar that you would run.
  • A description of how a Sun or Intel representative might interact with you during your presentation.

If there are any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

1 Insight


IT infrastructure decisions are challenged from all directions. Budget pressures are increasing and business units are asking tougher questions. Even the infrastructure itself has changed: Cloud computing and virtualization throw old assumptions out the window even as the physical and electrical footprint of equipment shrinks.

How can an infrastructure manager make a case for IT investments?

The datacenter investment business case must answer the following questions:

  • What broader business context requires additional IT infrastructure?
  • What is the desired outcome for the business? When will these benefits appear? How can these benefits be quantified?
  • What is the true total cost of proceeding?
  • What risks or costs will arise if this investment is not made?
  • What risks come with a project of this type?
  • Who must be involved? What resources will be committed?

You must start by asking yourself the toughest questions: What options do we have? Does it make sense to build or can we make do without? What will the real return be on this investment? These will guide the creation of a solid justification for IT investment.

We will discuss the evolution of IT as it moves "up the stack" from infrastructure to virtualization, platforms to applications. IT strategies must be presented in terms of benefit to the business as a whole, especially in financial terms.

Once hardware, implementation, facilities, and operations costs are totaled, many IT investments lose their appeal. But business risks, from compliance and litigation to missed opportunities, can swing the balance back. It is critical to include a complete picture of the cost, risk, and benefit.

Sun or Intel representatives will surely have experience discussing IT investments in the context of overall business benefit, total cost of ownership and return on investment, and project planning. We would expect them to join the discussion in nearly every area of the presentation, bringing their own experiences to the discussion.

Stephen Foskett is an enterprise IT consultant focused on infrastructure strategies. He is Director of Consulting for Nirvanix, Founder and Community Organizer for Gestalt IT, and a frequent speaker and author on IT infrastructure topics.