Information Technology-‘IT’-is expensive. Every CEO, CFO, COO-virtually every manager at every level of every company in existence knows that irrefutable fact. It’s usually a major line item in every company budget.

For the IT department, managing the company technical capability means first finding a product that meets whatever need the company  data sgp has come up with (and sometimes the odd whim of a single manager), then the purchase, installation, training, and maintenance of the hardware, software, networks, and databases that go along with the tool. Then you get to worry about interfaces between the tools, reports, security (both internal and external), and the wonderful, irrepressible, eccentric, and oftentimes destruction habits of the end users even after you’ve provided complete end-to-end training on the new product.

Then someone changes their mind and you get to do it all over again.

I personally believe every metropolitan area should have a private asylum for IT managers. This facility should come complete with areas for the temporarily insane to conduct personal and violent destruction of computer hardware, provide them a setup of punching bags made to look like ignorant (not stupid, just unrealistic) company officers, and an additional stomping ground full of dummies made to resemble a variety of knuckle-headed end users. And a special place of hell for hackers…

Such a facility would be filled to capacity at all times.

The madness doesn’t stop with the IT department. For other company managers, IT changes means hours or days of training, downtime and loss of productivity that comes with IT problems, failures, or system upgrades.

For sales staff, an IT glitch can mean lost opportunity, loss of revenue, and a less than stellar image of the company that can stay in a customer’s mind for years. Salesmen may never overcome a bad customer experience generated by failed IT. The phrase “the computer is your friend” is not widely spoken among sales people.

But IT is a necessary evil, isn’t it? What company could function without it?

Well, it is necessary. Even an enterprising young man or woman entering the workforce for the first time mowing yards needs a way for customers to reach him/her, a way to manage a schedule, maybe even a way to track who has paid their bill.
But does IT have to be evil?

What if the evil-ness comes because we’re trying to solve the wrong problem with the IT? We’re trying to force a round peg into a square hole, imagining IT can solve our problem without actually identifying what the problem is? We buy computers, networks, communications, and all sorts of things to do one thing-capture and manage information. A simple fact that we inherently all know but gloss over-it isn’t the IT that’s important, it’s what’s traversing that IT.

It’s about the data. Those little bits and bytes that make up characters that make up data elements that coalesce into information that gives us knowledge that further transforms into intelligence that can be used and acted upon.

It’s about the data. Yet we chase the tools driving the data.

But wait (you say)! We have our databases. That’s part of the IT. That’s where our information is stored. We need the IT to get to our information. It’s OUR information.
Well, yes… sort of.

But not really. Your company does store data into the databases related to your company, usually inside a proprietary database that is part and parcel to the software you’ve purchased. Most-or at least a great deal-of that data is duplicated in other systems, some internal to your company, but most certainly in some other external system. And setting up a database is hard work, what with getting items identified, parsed, moved into the proper fields, verified, and such. It takes time and manpower which translates into dollars spent.


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