MTBF, MTTR, reslience, availability
"“In the enterprise we measure and pay people on mean time between failure,” Skorupa said. “The whole operating principle is to avoid risk at all cost.”"
Shirley a sensible principle might be to minimise service disruption (ie maximise service availability), taking into account the impact (cost?) of service disruption. But the article talks about risk without explaining what today's meaning is?
Stuff fails, inevitably. Some stuff fails more than others - to have advance knowledge of what's likely to fail (and what the associated effects might be) can sometimes be handy, but isn't always essential.
If the overall system design includes suitable resilience, a single subsystem failure shouldn't lead to service disruption. Sometimes multiple failures can be tolerated without visible disruption. Sometimes transactional integrity is required, sometimes it's not, the required designs may be different depending on a particular setup's needs.
All of which might actually have been their point, but it's kind of hard to tell.
Notice where the terms MTBF and MTTR appear in the description above, and where "service availability" appeared in the article?
It's almost as though the last couple decades mostly never happened. Which might well be the case as far as lots of Gartner staff (and their MBA-indoctrinated clients) are concerned, but the two Gartneers in question here appear to have been around in the 1990s too: