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12/3/2009
10:25 AM
Tony Byrne
Tony Byrne
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Stop Blaming IT!

"IT is the problem." I heard this epithet issued by a cloud computing guru at last month's Interop conference. But you could replace "cloud computing" with nearly any emerging technology and hear the same thing. Enterprise IT just doesn't adopt new technologies as fast as many consultants and analysts would wish.

"IT is the problem." I heard this epithet issued by a cloud computing guru at last month's Interop conference. But you could replace "cloud computing" with nearly any emerging technology and hear the same thing. Enterprise IT just doesn't adopt new technologies as fast as many consultants and analysts would wish.In this case, the argument was doubly specious because the cloud consultant: 1) accused IT managers of trying to subvert the business to keep their jobs (impugning motives is rarely a winning argument); and 2) accused IT managers of dragging their feet due to irrational security fears. Now, I have seen some poor decisions made in the name of security, but a careful assessment of enterprise data safety and business continuity in the face of still-emerging cloud models seems pretty sensible. Ironically, a customer panel preceding the consultants' session included an anecdote where a cloud customer lost service for two hours because another customer mis-behaved in what was supposed to be a nicely-walled environment.

The other arena where IT sometimes plays villain is among Enterprise 2.0 evangelists. Thankfully, this appears to be changing. In my experience, IT teams frequently have significant experience with -- and substantial enthusiasm for -- social computing. For every case where IT is holding up internal social computing initiatives, I can point you to several cases where IT is trying to push the business side to adopt these technologies more effectively. When IT fails here, it is often because they assume, incorrectly, that their non-tech peers will adopt social tools along familiar patterns (which almost by definition they won't).

Remember that IT teams are frequently more interested in emerging technologies than you know. But they are also held accountable for some old-school requirements... little stuff like: security, reliability, performance, continuity, cost-effectiveness, regulatory compliance, and the like. If you want your IT group to be more creative, then you also need to give them the freedom to experiment, too."IT is the problem." I heard this epithet issued by a cloud computing guru at last month's Interop conference. But you could replace "cloud computing" with nearly any emerging technology and hear the same thing. Enterprise IT just doesn't adopt new technologies as fast as many consultants and analysts would wish.

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