I hear time and time again that the primary reason enterprises invest in WAN optimisation technology is to resolve a pressing business requirement.

I wrote about the topic recently, and how industry gurus say the need to solve a particular application performance issue is what drives many customer engagements.

Exinda Networks' CEO Con Nikolouzakis summed it up well: "We're still finding a lot of people want to solve one problem. They might be having problems with VoIP, or they're trying to do Lotus Notes replications, or something like that. The market is still at the stage where companies are trying to fix specific problems."

In response to that newsletter, a reader wrote in with some interesting observations about how to reconcile tactical and strategic requirements.

Some managers -- perhaps unintentionally -- pit strategic needs against tactical needs, says Dr. Neill Harris, a networking consultant and university faculty member. But a better approach is to consider the two together, not seeing them as competitors for resources but recognising that they are different animals, he suggests.

"It seems to me that managers must have resources allocated to both and not steal from strategic resources to bolster tactical resources," Harris writes.

In Harris' organisation, there are two distinct "pots" of resources, and each is clearly labelled. "The strategic pot is there to help us address significant, tactical problems, like the one we are faced with at the moment, in the future more effectively. If you steal strategic resources, you will make the tactical problem much larger in the future."

"The strategic pot has resources to discover what we need in the future, whereas the tactical pot has resources to recover what we are losing at the moment. So the resources in each pot actually have, or should have, different approaches and skills."

Stealing resources from one pool or another can not only jeopardise the solution to the short-term tactical problem but also prejudice the solution to the strategic problem of the future, Harris says.

For the most part, IT staff members have bought into the concept, according to Harris. "I have found that a simple explanation of strategic hits home and frequently silences the tactical opposition. Silences them, that is, in terms of their demands for resources, which they see as existing in a big, immediately accessible pot."

Though as Harris admits, not everyone listens. But that's the nature of life, right?