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.