« Better Tools ... Or Better Models? | Main | There's More To This Than Dense Storage, Folks »

January 18, 2010


Account Deleted

great post about our changing collective thoughts.

Much like our belief's that driving an SUV was the epitome of transportation in terms of comfort and safety, we're realizing that a honda civic isn't quite so bad as we thought and on top of that, we're saving money on gas.

Being located and doing business in SE Asia, I can understand the perception as to why the big boys of IT have trouble. I can tell you that it isn't about technology because no one else comes close to US ingenuity.

No sir. Its the adaptation of cost vs. what we're willing to put up with vs. utility.

If it works without much fuss, its considerably better then what methods we're using now and the price is right then we will buy it.

Comes back to psychology and the perception and willingness of human beings.

Jeff Oliver

Great observations, Chuck. My last three years working in technology (2007-2009) I was responsible for several very large infrastructure projects (EMC being a big part of our implementations). I value my MBA greatly, but I became increasingly aware that it was my BA in psychology that I relied on for daily survival and progress in the corporate world. Managing infrastructure projects is more about perceptions, behavior, motivation, and relationships than it is about technology. I think some IT managers are figuring this out now.


Excellent thoughts about the reality(perception) that IT in most organizations are waking up to realize. In the past, IT use to actually work in Silo with no "commitment" to respond to the business as to how it is spending the money funded by the business. In most organizations, IT use to create that "perception" in the minds of the business owners that they are adding significant value to business and don't ask them how they do it as they perform some of the most complex tasks in the planet !
Today, business owners realize that IT does help in automating the key business functions but at the same time make significant mistakes and waste company's money.
I am not surprised to see that most of the CIO's around the world are now closely working thier CEO's and CFO's and take additional responsibilities to run other functions like facilities, operations apart from "complex IT".

Today, CIO's are more than happy to let the business owners know that IT is not an "rocket science lab" within thier business, but a guide in transforming business and save costs for the business.

Alex McDonald

Interesting, and a good post. But I think you may be on the wrong tack; a longer response (and my apologies for using your blog to advertise mine, but needs must) here. http://blogs.netapp.com/shadeofblue/2010/01/selling-innovation-risk-and-habit.html


I think that it is extremely difficult for someone who has mastered a very complex intellectual framework that took years to develop, to change their perception and adapt. It’s not that they intellectually can’t, it’s because it’s painful. It’s interesting to dig into the Meyers Briggs personality profiles. Some analytical types, btw, very common in IT roles, build very complex frameworks that describe their worlds. It was built module by module, battle by battle. For some people, a new idea can be exhausting because they don’t view the idea as incremental; it is instead weighed against an entire framework. It’s like stopping a fast moving large fly wheel. The natural reaction often based on self preservation is to dismiss it, to reject it, to reduce observation frequency. But here is the rub. There is a whole new generation of professionals who are in the throws of building their own mental frameworks. They are formulating new ideas and take pride that their thinking is new and advanced and will embrace new things that can help differentiate themselves. They didn’t participate in the battles of the previous generation and are willing try new things- to observe with curiosity. Marketing people can see the new generations emerging; they come in waves. I was listening to a key note delivered by an EVP at another large systems company in which he shared that a great deal of their time on the product management side is spent observing teenagers in gaming environments as they build complex systems using commodity parts in a collaborative environment. It may have been a stretch, but his opinion as expressed in his presentation was that “these kids”, whether they are know it or not, are helping design the data centers of tomorrow. Is it true that significant shifts in perspectives are more often than not championed by a new generation of thinkers? There are some great exceptions in this world, people who make it a conscious effort to refrain from quick judgments and see their entire live as “a learning”. We so often get into the trap, after learning the ropes, of reducing the frequency of observation in our environments. While people are living healthier and longer, nothing will age one faster in business life than observing less.

Chuck Hollis

Doug -- as I read through your reply, it made sense.

People do build up the frameworks you suggest, and introducing an orthogonal idea can be very mentally exhausting -- and not everyone is always up for that.

The trick might lie in the ability to slow introduce an idea in small pieces, each of which is somewhat digestible, but collectively have great power.

Thanks for the extremely thoughtful comment.

what can you do with a psychology degree

At the time, I thought adding coursework in economics was the right thing to do. Even way back in the late 1970s (yes, I'm that old), I could see the two interweaving in very interesting ways.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Chuck Hollis

  • Chuck Hollis
    SVP, Oracle Converged Infrastructure Systems

    Chuck now works for Oracle, and is now deeply embroiled in IT infrastructure.

    Previously, he was with VMware for 2 years, and EMC for 18 years before that, most of them great.

    He enjoys speaking to customer and industry audiences about a variety of technology topics, and -- of course -- enjoys blogging.

    Chuck lives in Vero Beach, FL with his wife and four dogs when he's not traveling. In his spare time, Chuck is working on his second career as an aging rock musician.

    Warning: do not ever buy him a drink when there is a piano nearby.

    Note: these are my personal views, and aren't reviewed or approved by my employer.
Enter your Email:
Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

General Housekeeping

  • Frequency of Updates
    I try and write something new 1-2 times per week; less if I'm travelling, more if I'm in the office. Hopefully you'll find the frequency about right!
  • Comments and Feedback
    All courteous comments welcome. TypePad occasionally puts comments into the spam folder, but I'll fish them out. Thanks!