Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away

Posted On 28/10/2007

Filed under Food for thoughts

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Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay
Oh I believe in yesterday

Suddenly, I’m not half the man I used to be
There’s a shadow hanging over me
Oh yesterday came suddenly

— Yesterday, by John Lennon & Paul McCartney

A friend of mine like to tell a jokes. After graduate from secondary, when she try to choose the path between accounting and etc, her father encourage her to take the computing, as “you don’t need to read so much compare to your sister that study accounting”. And the rest is history.

Yes, computing is a big hoo-ha in the pass. However, the myths and misconception refuse to fade even the technology jump tens to hundreds flops in short period of time. For examples, from the feedback of my friend at the end user side, the accounting/finance department usually don’t click with IT division, since IT is a “big spender”. As bureaucratic in government, most finance controller prefer maintain status quo compare to upgrade, as “don’t upgrade it if everything work” (even it works slowly and crash beyond fixing anytime).

Don’t be surprise when a Malaysia company doing millions ringgit business still runs on a Dual Processor Pentium III 500Mhz with 256MB RAM that warranty lapse for many years. As in the pass, this hardware can easily cost a Myvi (~ RM 50,000) today. And you guess it, the accounting people still stuck in the yesteryear RM40,000 hardware purchase that already write off, but they just refuse to let go.

Another example is the data transfer/archival medium. Today, a grade 1 DVDR that store 4.7GB data cost less than RM2.00. Can you imagine, in 1990, we all pay RM1.50 for a piece of 3.5 inch, 1.44MB floppy disk. Today, I can put the whole 500MB mail box as a backup in my 1GB sandisk thumbdrive, which cost me RM37.

12 years ago, I am using 8″ QIC tape that store less than 300MB of data. Today, I am taking a 1GB thumbdrive as my keychain.

And hardware that drive the old 8″ QIC tape is obsolete. And complete transfer of information from the old media to new media is inevitable. Resistance is futile. For example, BNM has rules that Malaysia financial institution(Banks, Insurance, trust funds ) must keep at least 5 years of online data. So unless you want to get into trouble of sourcing old hardware, there is no way but keep migrating the storage. When 10 pieces of RM30 per piece 400MB QIC tape can be replace by a single piece of 4700MB, RM30 DVDRAM. For massive archival, 400GB Ultrium tape that cost RM400, can easily replace 1000 pieces of the 400MB QIC tape. As you can see, the capacity-cost goes more than 100 folds (RM 400 vs RM 30,000). And the logistics in security and archival is much simpler : duplicating the 400GB tape for off-site storing is much easier and cheaper than duplicate 1000 tapes.

It is clear that, technology advancement help relief pressure on maintenance cost. Investing on new system/storage give a return on investment in less than 6 months. For example, an old Pentium 1Ghz 512MB RAM server cost RM70,000 in 1997, can never compete with a RM25,000 hardware (provided you don’t procure the hardware that jack up the price 10-20 times as what Malaysia government did), on capacity and performance. When corporate invest on information technology, they must also keep up the flows of technology upgrade plan. Today, faster return on investment come from upgrades.

But in Malaysia, corporate are taking a snail path. Another friend has recently complain to me about company slow on adapting turnkey IT project. A small turnkey project decision, took 3 months to settle from a large insurance company. Glocal is just a talk on the paper. Borrow a friend overseas experience to expand the idea of turnkey project to overseas, thanks to the broadband. It seems compare to India and China, Malaysia IT workers are relatively cheaper. Which I bet even Malaysia mainstream media that haven’t take the hint.

When Malaysia corporate feels the pain of overseas company pummel them, it will be too late. It will not take long for them to find out that, it is Malaysia IT workers are working for this “foreigner” MNC to deliver the glocal solutions.


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