How DBA’s can Help the Companies Bottom Line?

Posted: January 9, 2009 in Uncategorized

When I was a very young man, just when I was working on databases part time, I got some advice from a Man that was a father figure in my life at that time. When we talked it seamed like there was nothing he could not do, or had not done and he could not have been 55 at that time. He was a man that had many successes in his life, well one night at dinner I asked him how he got to be the person he was and he said it was an easy rule that he would follow. He told me the rule was to find out what people disliked doing the most and then do that task. Don’t just do the task but become an expert at that task, study it, practice it and grow at doing it.

After thinking about this for the last 20 years I realize that he was right. It really points to fixing problems, becoming a fixer. Now as a DBA that is what we do, we are problem fixers and we will always be. So when you look at the year coming up, what should you focus on, how about the problems that Upper Management is dealing with. To do this the best thing to do is sit down with Upper Management and find out what is really is the top priorities for them. The way that I see this today is that they could be very close to these, although I am sure that every company is different.

  1. With the economy the way that it is everyone is being asked to save money. Its time to start spending the money you can on things that will save you more money over the course of the next year. One way to do this is to consolidate your servers, are you getting everything out of your servers that you can? Are you planning a couple years out? Are you focused on not just saving money but looking for places where you can find money?
  2. The data that we keep is very important, are you trending your data to see where the company may be able to increase sales? Looking at things like people that bought X product many of the times will by Y product. Are you using the power of your data to its fullest extent?
  3. Stability = Money or the lack of, if your servers are down or if your servers are performing at a point where they could be hurting the company then maybe its time to figure out a few things.
    1. How do you increase the stability, is it performance tuning, is it using the new feature in 2005 or 2008 that can save you money, can you prove it?
    2. When your systems are not stable as they could be are you figuring out a way to shorten those times, what about testing your backups or improving testing so releases go a little better.

Now I think we should not be doing this all the time, but these are a few things that may help with the bottom line this year. I use to tell the people that worked for me that their job was to make my job easier when I was standing front and center in the boss’s office, my job was to give them the time and resources they needed to do that. The other part of my job was to get my boss in a position where he was not in front of the big man explaining how we should have done things differently. I call this managing up, as a director reporting to the CTO my job was to make sure that his discussion with the CTO was in the arena of if we do this we can save this, or we can improve this. Not talks where the CTO is asking us why we can not keep the SAN up and running, or performance at a speed where the CTO was hearing about how bad it was.

What do you think?

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