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August 18, 2010


Imran Anwar

This excellent article should definitely be something that ComputerWorld, or InformationWeek, or even BusinessWeek, should be publishing.

I suspect that 90% of the time there is a dual disconnect at work in the business-technology world.

Client IT organizations are NOT asking questions or thinking along the lines that the article above succinctly highlights. It is often because their own corporate/business-unit management leaders are not thinking this strategically about what IT can do for them. Their IT managers are often great at technology, not so great engaging business units to find areas of pain to alleviate. They instead can go by "Build It And They Will Come" mindsets, which business units end up rejecting, or more likely, ignoring.

Now, add to this client-side mix, a similar situation on the vendor side. In many cases IT sales people can make promises, based on buzzword driven marketing or perceived automagical faith that "Throw money and IT and you can solve business problems." In the meantime, the vendors' technology either does not deliver on these promises, or is merely a rough tool, not philosophically designed to be used as a strategic BUSINESS tool by clients.

In defense of IT and engineering teams, it is, after all, difficult to philosophically design an IT solution that would be a strategic tool for clients, if clients are not in the mindset of leveraging IT as a game-changing tool to leapfrog their competition.

Instead of letting promising IT solutions that would also help improve core business processes, the tendency at clients can be to take a narrow view of IT as a cost to be reduced, and how "new" technology simply "better supports" their existing processes, no matter how ineffective or, even worse, strategically wrong, or outdated they are.

It would be somewhat similar to an innovative engineering company creating inexpensive water powered jet-packs but being forced to fly them only at 55 mph and only along the narrow corridors of existing roads and highways, including choke points.

Now, combine the two sets of not-always-aligned Business/IT and Sales/Engineering forces at work, at clients and vendors, respectively. Then one sees it is more something to celebrate (and salute the professionals in all these four areas) that complex technology solutions do actually succeed in still adding value in the business world, despite these 2x2 sets of conflicting dynamics at work.

Imagine how much more strategically and operationally effective the technology would be, and how much higher ROI and business value organizations would derive, if they had the strategic approach discussed in the excellent article above. I hope it gets distributed extensively to business leaders, technology managers and media/analysts.


PS These are my personal opinions and do not represent those of any client or employer, past, present or future!

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.
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