To start off, if you know me personally, then you know I recently (July 30, 2009) broke my leg skydiving. If you’re interested, you can see this video on Youtube here. To make a long story short, I had surgery that night, they put a titanium rod in my thigh and I have been on crutches since. I have only recently started learning to walk again (which I have no yet reached that point). This week my insurance decided that it was no longer necessary to send me to Physical Therapy (thanks Oxford).
Like any corporation, Oxford is in the business of making money and in this case, they are doing so by deciding not to pay for my PT. In the long run, the lack of rehabilitation will likely leave me in a weakened state and generally more prone to injury once I go back to my skydiving, motorcycle riding, MMA, and BASE jumping ways. If Oxford had said, let’s make sure he can walk and then we’ll cut him off, at least he’ll have a foundation and be less prone to injury; then they might be saving a bit of money on me in the long run.
So what does this sob story have to do with IT? A decision made now in order to save money can end up costing you more of time and money in the long run. And since time is money, sometimes a little bit of planning can go a long way. Should you add the feature now because your biggest client wants it by Friday. Well if you do that, then you might lose a few smaller clients along the way and the word of mouth may be more damaging than temporarily upsetting that large client.
Perhaps you set up Nagios and immediately turned on alerting without learning the thresholds that your machines typically sit at. Then you get a whole set of alerts and you spend more time trying to sort through the real problem ones versus the ones that just have a slightly abnormal operating level then you would if you just looked at your machines thresholds to begin with.
There are a million examples that could be listed here. The point is, before jumping into a decision, try to make sure that you’re not going to be paying for it in the long run. A little planning can go a long way.