Over the many years we have been working in IT there has always been the driver which is stop firefighting, take control and move forward to effectively manage challenges; for us it’s a paradigm. It has never changed and is of course always easier said than done.
People in general tend to find it difficult to effect change in all environments and the more radical that change is then the greater the difficulty; right up to the point that they become aware that the penalty for continuing as before is too high a price to pay.
You see it all the time with friends who suddenly realise that their lifestyle is giving them health problems they can no longer ignore. Teenagers who wake up and realise that their public exams are looming and that they either get their heads down or that university opening may well be denied to them. Governments who pursue agendas well past their use-by date and suddenly realise that they may well be now unelectable. (Ring any bells?)
Getting back to the point we now have a customer base which is waking up to the fact that it now has different demands being placed upon it; demands that were never there before. Where once the IT department had probably the sole responsibility for the care, use and availability of data there are now very savvy people in some very new areas. The latter are also often and from new verticals and demand very different access to and use of core business data. Who could have foreseen the ability to make their fortune from social media for instance?
There is also a dynamic at work to-day where there are many users who have never really taken to secure email, never mind secure data usage and they are employed alongside youngsters who really don’t get email either, because they have long since moved on.
We genuinely are at one of those Damascene moments in our IT journey when now is the time to change. Now I don’t think we want to send our IT department off to “legs, bums and tums gym,” to change its’ lifestyle and I don’t know if we can ground the IT Director till he does his GCSE revision, but I do believe we can seriously evaluate where we want to be and from where we are.
When NASA was planning the Apollo moon missions they certainly did not spend their time doing more of the same. They drew a path from Florida to the Moon and planned the entire mission successfully using and adapting all means at their disposal; they truly understood the change management necessary. When Kelly Johnson planned the SR-71 Blackbird he worked out what was the performance required from his brainchild and yet he knew that virtually everything he had specified was not then readily available. He very soon made sure it was. Both projects were accomplished utilising existing means and an eagerness to adapt and develop new ones.
The polymath Jared Diamond maintains that mankind does not need new technology so much as to use the existing technology more constructively. Thankfully for the rest of us mere IT mortals, the tools do exist, we simply need to pick them up and use them properly.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”