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ACME 2005

With the Survivor's Guide to 2005 NWC issue hot off the presses I wanted to pass on details as to what we are focusing on at ACME in the IT shop for 2005. We have some big multi-year projects still...



With the Survivor's Guide to 2005 NWC issue hot off the presses I wanted to pass on details as to what we are focusing on at ACME in the IT shop for 2005. We have some big multi-year projects still ongoing and some things we started in 2004 as well as new projects for 2005. In the past we made the mistake of approaching budgeting as a "wish list" and then figuring out if we had the staff to execute the projects. This year we took a more realistic approach. Keep reading to see what amazing things we have planned for 2005. Here are the big areas where we are spending mucho cash in 2005. I will expand on these areas below this list.

-- Security -- Portal -- Document Management -- Disaster Recovery -- Network / Datacenter -- Software Development -- Finance System -- Windows XP Migration -- Collaboration

Security. You name it ... we are doing it. An annual audit. Moving to use of a managed security services provider with host based and network intrusion detection. Replacing our firewalls. Log file monitoring app. Installing an anti-virus / content filtering appliance. Penetration test. Installing a desktop firewall protection and spyware detection app centrally managed. Security tokens for use authentication. Reviews of our web architecture. Reverse proxy servers. And more.

Portal. We have been working on our portal project for some time to extend our systems to be access capable by our major customers. This is a multi-year project and we are in year 2 of this in 2005. We will choose our hosting provider for this and go live on the system with initial capabilities. The integration with our CRM and reporting is almost complete. New applications and functions will be added on a scheduled basis.

Document Management. The company has really been needing this to replace our cumbersome use of basic file services. Right now we are installing the servers and are scheduled to have the integrator install the client/server app. The scanners are in place. We will be live on this in early 2005. We may go so far as to use the content management piece of the application we have chosen, to allow us to better manage our website.

Disaster Recovery. Just recently we finished upgrading our plan and our annual test. We have chosen a new employee hotsite provider and are also considering other options for our offsite server needs.

Network Infrastructure. Tons of budget items here. Our SAN install, patch management/tracking, ticketing system upgrade, server upgrades per schedule, internal employee network segment apart from servers, replacement tape drive autoloader/library, remote access improvements, addition to UPS, and lots more minor stuff.

Software Development. A struggle has ensued as to how much software development we should complete internally versus through the use of individual contractors or through the use of outsourcing or a combination. This topic is under discussion with our software development manager and others within the IT organization. We pushed for more full time developers but were already shot-down on that. It is acceptable to continue use of contractors but there are pros and cons to that approach. More on this as it develops.

Finance System. Our current finance system is archaic and in 2005 we will perform a software acquisition management (SAM) process to identify candidate replacement systems, issue an RFP, and choose a solution.

Windows XP Migration. Yes, not all our desktops and laptops are running XP yet although they are all on Win2k at least. We will get this completed in 2005.

Collaboration. An extranet is already in place to provide for some good collaboration with business partners but we need to put in something more robust and enterprise class.

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