A few weeks ago I received an email from one of our regular guest bloggers, Adam Cole. He came across a highly impassioned debate on IT's bad reputation and how IT departments are often thought of as hindering business progress, rather than enabling it. Nicholas Spanos, a consultant with Computer Aid, thinks this bad rap is justified and presents 8 reasons why:
Take a quick read of the articles (they're both brief):
Do you agree? Disagree? Leave your comments here or email me directly. I'll post a follow up with my thoughts next week.
On the IT side from a tech's point, there is also on a different front the side where we have the equivalent of slimy mechanics.
There are good techs that know their stuff.
There are idiots out there who have no clue or know 'just enough to get into trouble'
There are also people who go out there intentionally ripping off the customers.
There are companies who look out for the long term interests of their customers.
In a nutshell it's a jungle out there.
I have few comments with regard to some of the points.
Point 2- No career path. In some orgs, the IT manager reports to the director of finance, you can't really move up. In this csse you need to be looking for oppertunities outside the org or in other departments where you skills are transferable. I had a conversation a few weeks back a retired regional director with the OPP (I can't remember his exact title, but he was responsible for Eastern Ontario). What he was telling me was in order to keep moving up, people who are above you and are in a position to move you up, need to understand what it is you do and what skills and value you bring to the table. Its one's job to make those people aware of your skills and value to the organization. You also need to see what skills are required in these better positions and figure out how to aquire these skills.
Point 3 - Unstable - I can show you plenty of stable environments. C++ and Java only understood by the top 20% of developers? Where did these numbers come from. What is their definition of developer?
Point 4 - Rigidity - I worked for an org that had custom addons written into their ERP so that their ERP would follow their business processes. They didn't let the software dictate their business process.
Point 5 - Leadership Void - As in Point 2 Its the jobs of the guys beneath the CIO to show what they do and their value in a language the CIO can understand.
Point 6 - Lack of Curiosity - Come on what is the author smoking? If one is going to fix the same problem over and over again, they are going to dig in and see what the root cause is, no one wants to be fixing the same thing over and over. Not questioning business priorities again shows the lack of maturity of the IT pro. Everything can't be high priority so a tech needs to look at the business needs and figure out from that which task should be done first.
Point 7 - Lack of Commitment - Project managment problem, not an IT problem. Any project manager worth anything watches the dates,costs and scopes.
I don't have anything for 1 and 8 at this time, but I may come up with something later on. It's really hard to take the article seriously. I am just glad I'm not working where he is.
Having been on pretty much all sides of this issue at different times in my career I was at first tempted to address each point one by one. But then, having read the comments on the second article, I decided that most opinions had been offered. I am sure that there is an element of truth in all of the 7 points which could equally apply to life in general.
I then found myself thinking "what does this look like from 10,000 ft?". The truth is we are still moving from automation to innovation in IT and we are a very long way from getting there in the "global" sense. Far too many people are stuck in the catch 22 of being unable to find the time or see a way of getting out of the daily "maintain where I am" versus "how do I get to a better place?" despite a desperate desire to get there and provide a better service. This leads to frustration and ultimately poorer and less focused performance. The organizations and people who are at the front of the "charge" are still relatively few. I teach the Microsoft desktop to users and recently I found myself teaching Vista and Office 2007 one week and Office 2000 in a Windows 98 environment the next. My experience has been that if I can teach users a few "little gems" that make their daily lives easier and more productive they feel that attending was very worthwhile.
The spread of technical, management and leadership advancement and competency across organizations continues to get wider, which is the work equivalent of "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer". We have to think in terms of how do we raise everybody's standards and capabilities rather than being perochial if we want the whole situation to improve.
Our living standards have improved steadily over the past 40 -50 years and, at one and the same time, we have become fearful of losing that and at the same time increasingly anxious and impatient to keep going forward.
Those who stand on the sidelines and screem abuse should join the game and at the same time look in the mirror occasionaly!
Welcome to the first post of 2008! I hope you all had a good relaxing time over the holidays with friends