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Remembering Titanic and a Few Lessons Learned

by Gayla Sullivan  |  July 26, 2012  |  Comments Off on Remembering Titanic and a Few Lessons Learned

This year, on April 15th, we acknowledged the 100 year anniversary of the sinking of Titanic in a variety of ways.  We remembered, with reverence, the lives lost on that fateful night.  Ceremonies commenced on land in Belfast where the giant ship was built, and over sea where the MS Balmoral stopped to observe a moment of silence at the estimated spot where Titanic sank. On a lighter note,  Hollywood saw fit to  re-release of James Cameron’s film, Titanic, this time in 3D.

September of this year marks the 27th anniversary of the discovery of the wreckage of Titanic by Dr. Robert Ballard.  Dr. Ballard will be Gartner’s guest keynote speaker at this year’s U.S. ITAM, Finance & Procurement Summit.

We’ve learned much from analyzing the cause of disasters. In fact, we can apply that knowledge to Software License Compliance – an endeavor that resembles a voyage in presumably calm waters

Ten “Lessons Learned” to Apply to Software Compliance

  1. The most expensive, grandest tools in the world are meaningless without effective processes and policies.
  2. There are always a few people walking around in denial trying to act as if there is no problem.
  3. No process is infallible, and no ship unsinkable, no matter how much you might want to believe it so.
  4. Once you know there is a problem, relief may come too late and probably won’t stop the ship from sinking.
  5. One front line person can make all the difference in preventing or averting disaster.
  6. There are always executives who have lofty goals and believe conservative practices are a waste of time – They are wrong.
  7. Smart people sometimes fail. Vigilance and proper planning are key.
  8. If a well-meaning person tells you everything is fine and you can go back to what you were doing, it’s best to find out for yourself.
  9. Panic is not our friend.
  10. Teamwork is critical.

To illustrate this last point, an account shared by Titanic survivor, Dr. Washington Dodge, on April 20, 1912, shows that the value of teamwork was clearly evident for those Titanic passengers who had made it to a row boat.

In my boat when we found ourselves afloat we also found that the four oars were secured with strands of tarred rope. No man in the crowd had a pocket knife, but one had sufficient strength in his fingers to tear open one of the strands. That was the only way in which we got our boat far enough away from the Titanic’s side to escape the volume of the condenser pumps.

“Here is another thing that I want to emphasize; only one of all the boats set adrift from the vessel’s side had a lantern. We had to follow the only boat that had one, and if it had not been for that solitary lantern possibly many of the other boats might have drifted away and gone down.”

It only takes one solitary lantern, to lead the way to safety for others…

Visit us at the ITAM Summit, September 12 -14, in Orlando and listen to keynote speaker, Dr. Robert Ballard, share his experience in discovering the Titanic in 1985 along with his advice on how to motivate out-of-the-box thinking, deal with failure, inspire children and live your dream.  We also hope to help you “shed some light” on software compliance issues through our many tutorials and clinics.  Hope to see you there.

Register here:



Tags: gartneritam  it-financial-emea  it-financial-na  itam  procurement  sam  

Gayla Sullivan
Research Director
1 year at Gartner
17 years IT Industry

Gayla Sullivan is a research director in Gartner's IT Asset Management and Procurement team within the Architecture and IT Business group. Ms. Sullivan leverages her experience in IT procurement, sourcing, contracting and vendor management to assist IT leaders with licensing, pricing, terms and conditions, and contract negotiation strategies for major software vendors, with a focus on Microsoft. Read Full Bio

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