It's been a tumultuous year, and IT professionals have not been excluded from the heart-stopping excitement. What has surprised me immensely in the past month, however, is a sudden shift to pessimism. "We're all doomed!" has become the cry of the day.
Stories by Bruce A Stewart
I know of a central IT group that recently grew eightfold overnight. No, not through a merger — it was the users turning their shadow IT groups over to IT because they don't need them anymore. All of this happened because this central IT organisation got into the business of creating tools for users to satisfy reasonable IT needs on their own.
We don't spend a lot of time in IT thinking about a world without applications, but it's time we started.
For a good decade now, most IT organisations have been strongly focused on business process design. With businesses investing big bucks in ERP, supply chain management and customer relationship management systems, process design has been king, and in many cases it has met real business needs.
When Nicholas Carr put forward his “IT doesn’t matter” argument in the Harvard Business Review (and in his subsequent book and blog), he set off a firestorm of controversy in the IT community. But now, four years later, Carr’s point has been made by organisation after organisation. Whenever a business problem is put forward, IT comes back with a package.
Four years ago, Nicholas Carr wrote his now-famous article “Does IT Matter?” in the Harvard Business Review. A firestorm of protest erupted in its wake, but business managers generally bought Carr’s message: application packages and infrastructure are commodities. Buy cheap, and ride the assets to death, because real innovation and competitive differentiation aren’t found in IT once everyone’s got the same stuff.
Many of my clients make use of outsourcing, some quite extensively. Yet, I don’t know of a single one who is happy with the relationship. Has everyone made a mess of contracting for their services, or are they missing something else?
Admit it: The IT life isn’t usually a lot of fun these days.