CIO 010 Is I.T. Really Moving "SO FAST we cannot keep up with it"? Created by James on 6/13/2013 4:00:41 PM
It is frequently stated that information technology is "moving so fast we cannot keep up with it".
Is this really so?
At a technology level the statement is at some level valid.
However, at a pragmatic level, this statement is invalid -- the real issue is strategic efficiency and effectiveness -- the capacity to get the core business of the business done in such a manner that the business can thrive.
Take a moment to consider all the diverse aspects that must be taken into account for any organization to thrive -- owners, customers, suppliers, staff, executives, opportunities, threats, planning...
Can you see the paradox?
For the average organization I.T., while important and necessary, is only one element of a much larger and more complex mosaic of non-I.T. issues.
Yes, there may be great new tools and ideas, the question is, how central are those new ideas and tools to supporting YOUR organization to thrive? Increasingly, these developments are likely to be strategically peripheral rather than strategically core.
The reality is that much of the "new" is old ideas with new labels driven by marketing hype.
As an example, the Internet came into existence in limited form in 1969, (http://www.davesite.com/webstation/net-history.shtml) 38 years ago.
In many cases, the twenty percent of the functionality that is necessary to get eighty percent of the job done has been around for at least a decade and frequently more.
This technology may not be fashionable but it gets the job done.
Yes, there is constant development and challenging new ideas, however, these developments relate primarily to how we as human beings use the technology to support us in our day to day existence rather than relating to technology. Similar comments apply to many other aspects of I.T.
The developments are impressive yet, at the same time, much of the I.T. industry is driven by marketing hype and arguably in many cases there is a lack of ethics in the way the technology is marketed.
The reality is that were the I.T. industry to be subject to the same statutory and social standards that we apply to Doctors, Engineers and other professionals who require a licence to practice and where accountability for outcomes is enforced by law, we would see some dramatic shifts in the way information technology is sold and implemented.
Recognition and application of the legal principle of "right to maintain and repair" would also have a significant sobering effect.
Example -- a recent E.R.P. project came in on time and well under budget. So much under budget that the company paid a significant cash bonus to the staff involved -- their secret? -- an attorney on the project team and an enforceable contract with provision for penalties and damages.
The real issues today are the capacity of users to accommodate change -- users are presented with software of mind boggling complexity and are frequently forced to discard hard earned knowledge and experience in order to keep pace with "fast moving" technology.
Most software has become so functionally bloated that it is debatable that anyone on the planet really knows fully how to use many of the mainstream branded products and, if there are such people, they represent a restricted minority.
So, is information technology moving "so fast we cannot keep up"?
The real challenge is NOT for business to keep up, it is for business executives to take a stand and demand the levels of reliability and sustainability that they expect from other aspects of human endeavor.
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