In the Shadow of IT

Tap tap tap.. I am writing and reversing over the words over and over.   G-d forbid I say something that might offend someone.    For a minute, I am taking off the gloves.    There is a school of thought around IT and technology services that imply that every problem has an IT solution.   You can buy salvation.   You can buy your solution in the form of something digital..  You can collaborate using “digital collaboration” and you can fix your business problems by buying SharePoint or something like it.   They buy and they buy and they want something real and tangible.   What they get is a bigger budget and more problems.  They in fact are solving the wrong problem precisely.   Why?  Because there is a narrow framing of the problem space.   They aren’t looking at the people, the process, the methods and the outcomes holistically.   They are focused on the tools.   The tools are sucking the dollars away but since the tools are a thing..  and a thing is what they believe they need.. they buy more.

Microsoft doesn’t have to work hard on maintaining their current market because their product is everywhere.   It by itself does nothing but create more requirements and there is no end to it.   Ironically, the companies are forced to hire more tech people who create more tech solutions but the mission of the organization and the revenue streams are squeezed.   In all that, there is one thing forgotten and that is the people.   Companies today are divesting in people and investing in technology.   They are spending more on cyber security than training.  They are building walls and honeypots and barriers and they are isolating their people and overwhelming them with DATA..  Big data, small data, analysis, SharePoint, Yammer, tech feeds, emails , IM’s and mobility and more and more and more connection to the grid..

They want to automate you and make you the machine.    They look at issues in knowledge management and knowledge continuity as soft and intangible because these things are difficult to measure.   The key factor is that they aren’t even trying to measure them because they are soft and because there is no “thing” to tie this to and that “thing” is perceived to have the value.   It is that thing that they throw away and that they don’t see that they need.  When they discover that they need it, they map this need to the value inherent in the “one” person they can’t afford to lose at that time.  Then they pay..  and they pay until that person is gone again.

Without the capture of knowledge and without the understanding of the value and the impact on the business.  They throw people away like a subscription that they don’t want anymore.    In the end, they can get the work done… but it takes more time.   They have to relearn what they knew inside as TACIT.  They have to relearn and recapture what they have lost.

The people are in the shadow of IT and the people are ignored.    Business will go on and this will continue, until people flip the model and start to hold onto information and stop sharing. When they do, they can increase their value and instead of giving all their explicit knowledge back to the technology, they will hold their knowledge for ransom.     Ask yourself if you have ever seen this in your career.

Anyone can be replaced, but any replacement will be different.. better or worse…

I say.. invest in your people and love them.. they will love you back and care for your business like it is their own.  Ask Microsoft or other vendors if they even know your name outside and data searching on an invoice.