I recently read a post written by Andrew McAfee who is an Associate Professor at the Harvard Business School. It made me think of my own retoric a bit. I guess everybody agrees that IT is here to support the business and not vice versa. However, in real life situation I often find myself in somewhat of a missionary role. We all want to be able to work smarter, solve our problems quicker and all of that. The question is how that is possible without knowing the possibilities of existing and emerging technologies. All historic references also point out that when a new technology arrives we have a tendency to just integrate it into what we do know as merely and add-on. It takes years before someone figures out how to do business different not just a little bit better.
Therefore in my evangelism I often find myself saying: ”Well, it is not about technology, really, it is about business/processes” or something else which sound like ”soft” issues. The idea is to make it easier for those non-technical people that they need to be engaged in this and not just expect us to install yet another black box which do magic stuff they do not understand. Well, professor McAfee made me think I was wrong. Maybe I should say: ”it is about the technology, also”.
The idea is that if the leaders do not understand or do not even care how the systems we are buying for the company or organization how will they be able to develop their organization, their methods and make things run more efficient. When more and more of the things you need to monitor and control resides within ERP-, ECM- or CRM-systems they need to know how they work on some level. Especially when facing a need for change which can be facilitated by taking a new approach on the IT-infrastructure. Platforms from different vendors ARE different and not caring about that can prove very costly in the long run. Platforms also do change and it is vital to track that in order to know if to stay in the boat or jump onto the next one. Technical understandning of these complex systems is vital and the way they are architected can possibly influence they way thousands of people work.
So, it is not all about technology but it certainly does matter what is happening in the black box.
It isn’t as advanced as JRR Tolkien’s languages or Klingon for that matter but it is interesting the Stargate fans has compiled a lot of information about the Gua’uld language spoken by the Gua’uld and the Jaffa.
I guess one of the reasons why I like Stargate SG-1 is that it is a lot about the danger that arises when a large number of people left their destiny in the hands of false gods who use advanced technology to perform ”miracles”. It begins with the enslavement of ancient Egypt by the Gua’uld and later with the preechers of the Ori who kills everybody who do not believe. Of course the rest of the component in the show about the possibility of contact with life on other planets and how to react to different ways of living the life. Of course all of that is present here on earth but the added mixture of different life forms, advanced technology and huge distances makes it even more exciting.
It was nice to be out on the road again. I had never been to München before and on Tuesday night we had some time to explore the city somewhat. The weather was terrible – cold and raining. Not what I had expected because the last time I was in Germany this time of the year it was terribly hot instead. However, I have now officially been inside a traditional beer hall. It wasn’t as scary as I had first thought, I guess it was nicer and friendlier than I had expected.
Workwise we visited the iAbg complex outside München where we had a workshop within the MNE 5 project. What strikes me is the importance of understanding the Service Oriented Approach (SOA) even in our line of business. However, defining what a service actually is and what services that should be described in the technical architecture is not easy.
Today I will be going to Germany on a business trip. Someone that asked me what I was doing today asked what I was doing there and I said it was a business trip and he looked a bit sad and said something like ”oh that is a bummer”. I don’t agree. I like that my job allows me to travel a lot and usually the workshops and conferences I go to are very interesting. So combining interesting work with new experiences of different countries does not seem to be such a bad deal for me. The only drawback is that my cab leaves for the airport at 0545 in the morning which is very early for someone who has to wake up more or less three hours before closing the door on my way out.
The product that so many Mac-users have been waiting for has now been launched and what a launch it was. I especially like the story about Steve Wozniak waiting in line with a specially designed t-shirt stating ”the line starts here”. However, it is again very interesting to listen to people and media trying do their best of making the iPhone an irrelevant ”hype thing”. There seem to be an almost Microsoft-like incentive to crack down on anything Apple is doing today with some simple arguments around ”what’s new, actually, it is not exactly the first phone around”. To me that is just missing the point or perhaps a blindness of abvious flaws of current products in the market. I own a Sony Ericsson P990i and it is a phone that have all the features when reading the specifications. Fine, but it is a terrible user experience. There seem to have been little or no usability testing and the updates they send out does not seem to fix anything. To me that counts and that is what Apple seem to have a good job fixing. Just as it is a bit more fun and easy to use a Mac, I believe it is more fun and easy to use an iPhone. Apple IS good at creating a spin and a hype but unlike Microsoft the actual products they sell are great and not full of bugs. The reason for that is that Steve Jobs strive for perfection and that kind of corporate culture do count in the long run.
As a sidenote, if you want to have a look at Alfresco on the iPhone have a look here