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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Is Moore’s Law Disrupting IT Services?

I had a fascinating meeting with a Big Five Integrator strategic planner. He is seeing that IT support per user will be diminishing as users take more of a role building and maintaining their information environment. He said that in Afghanistan, some troops make increasing use of their social networks for tactical information rather than the DoD furnished systems.
Users who have mastered social networks expect a customized, more useful information environment. Here are some ideas.
If you make your own environment you are either satisfied with it or you improve it. Complaining about support may no longer be a core job skill.
Ernestine, Lily Tomlin’s telephone operator, was at one time THE high tech job. Direct dial ( a newer technology) was her downfall.
Help desk work has been moved to socioeconomically disadvantaged companies, lower cost countries, and automated tools. Help desk is also focused largely on the Microsoft universe. I have some experience with Microsoft, and they seem to be part of a paradigm of highly compensated blue collar staff positioned between the people doing the work and their computers.
Disembodied “IT staffs” who don’t have an interest in the mission of the organization often don’t do a good job and seldom know what the problems are and why they hurt the users so much.
At my gym the electronics on the machines don’t get fixed unless the users explain the problem because the maintenance staff doesn’t exercise, and doesn’t seem to understand why a broken headphone jack should be replaced.
I was talking with the CIO of a Web 2 Healthcare company. He kept referring to his staff as “druids.” I told him that was more accurate than he knew, because not only were the druids wizards, knowing things common people didn’t know, they were also the group responsible for deposing the king when his time was over.
Having just sold an open source company, I have seen that open source development is much faster (because you start building from an existing proven piece of software) and accurate (because as the customer gets a better idea of what they want, they can get it. Users often make the changes themselves) than traditional development. I always felt that freezing the architecture to move to design while necessary, was often done before the customer really knew what they wanted.
Stewart Brand, of the Whole Earth Catalog, has a series on BBC TV about how buildings age, and shows one architect who is still learning from a house 25 years after he built it.
So what happens to all those people who now reset your passwords? What will they do?
Many of them have an aptitude for technical problem solving. Demand for people who can create something new or improve something is always good.
Think about journalism. Journalism is exploding. There are now more working journalists than ever before. Dead tree newspapers and television networks are failing...to new uses of journalism.
Are you concerned about amateurish mistakes and outrageous fraud? Remember Sturgeon’s Law, “90% of everything is crud,” and go find the wonderful.
Comments?