Welcome to the Internet

Chairing the morning sessions at Cloud Computing World Forum yesterday at Olympia it occurred to me that what I was watching was actually corporate IT finally being forced to acknowledge the internet.

It has always fascinated me the lack of interest shown by IT professionals in even the core technologies of the Internet. It has been such a Microsoft closed shop that even getting people to allow us to run PHP scripts or use Apache servers used to be an uphill struggle. It wasn’t because they were making a conscious decision about the pros and cons, it was simply that it was all so unfamiliar and unknown to them. Being so focussed on delivery of the familiar seemed to drain them of any curiosity they might have had for the new and innovative stuff that was happening around them.

Now that businesses are insisting that they have some of that innovation and flexibility that they are becoming used to as consumers, the IT industry has reacted by giving it a name and packaging it all up so that they can have conferences about what it is and whether to buy it or not and the whole time wasting, energy sapping circus moves on.

14 thoughts on “Welcome to the Internet”

  1. I'm not sure that it's necessarily important that it was a "Microsoft" closed shop – just a closed shop generally (but hey, I would say that these days, wouldn't I?!).What the Internet has brought, though, is an end to corporate IT's monopoly of supply, and that is at the core of the challenge that IT departments now face. IT management is structured around three traditional control points: control of technology, control of data and control of cost. The Internet means that the technology control is gone – and that leads to governance issues around the other two points (which IT is still generally responsible for in an organisation).There are a couple of bits that I have written on this – http://blog.mattballantine.com/blog/_archives/2011/5/25/4824130.html on how IT might not be the best place to find the skills now needed, and a whiteboard session here: http://bit.ly/m6FZP5 that talks about the competitive pressure IT now finds itself under…

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  2. Thanks for the comment and the links Matt – though I would still maintain that Microsoft is the modern equivalent of "no one ever got fired for buying IBM".

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  3. Is the internet changing the CIO or is the CIO changing the internet?I'm not sure it was Microsoft either, more the ego culture of the old school CIO, whereby the bigger the server room the bigger the job, and the bigger the ego. I believe It's the world of the CIO which is changing and the internet is one of a few things thats contributing to this… Could be a fun ride…

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  4. So true. Companies have seen how exciting things can get so they attend conferences and ask people, "Teach me innovation." It's lol-worthy.

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  5. I'd like to think this is changing, and one of the reasons it is changing is a general rise in computer literacy.IT Teams can't get away with all the black magic these days, people are seeing how easy and painless IT can be, "I can get a 1GB mailbox online for free, why can't you give me one"I don't think the problem has been IT being focussed on delivery of the familiar, I think it's that most of us have been too busy focussing on controling our users, and not liberating them…Viva la resistance!

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  6. Thanks for your honesty Rob. I reckon you are right and I was just trying to be fair. I have often thought that the more responsibility given to users the lower the costs and the greater the opportunity for interesting use of technology. Sadly the PC world made this difficult.

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  7. I agree, and think the challenge facing IT Management now is for us to break out of this funk and start seeing these changes as exciting opportunities and not threats to security.It's a large shift in perception though, most IT teams would rate security and control of the technical environment much much higher than innovation, increasing productivity, and inspiring new business models.so maybe the answer is to split out security as it's own team, area, or person, and create a technical innovation team, challenged with pushing the boundaries?In small companies, have an innovation day, become unfettered from the chains of security for a bit and think what you could achieve, include heads of departments…I do feel the tide is turning, however slowly, and the more of us that are prepared to stand up and be counted the better.

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  8. Totally agree Rob though there is a risk in setting up special measures to do innovation. Sometimes innovation is as easy as getting out of the way!

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  9. 🙂 True. I met a "Director of Innovation" at ITDF, great guy, but an oxymoron of a Job description if ever I saw one…I find often people need a little jumpstart though, one of IT's jobs should be to inspire, so much is possible…

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  10. 'Director of Innovation'! That's a job I'd kill for – I don't think it is necessarily an oxymoron (although I know what you mean :). If the post has been created and is taken seriously by the company then someone in that position should be able to do the key thing and get out into the business, and see where innovation is actually happening! It should never be a role that dictates what the next innovation should be (how ridiculous!) but it should be there to champion the innovation that will naturally happen at the edges of the organisation and share this good stuff with others. To lobby at board level to provide the tools that allow and encourage innovation.As I said, yes please!I didn't bump into you at the ITDF but maybe we will next time!CheersChris

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