The all-devouring black hole of ICT


 Herman Rensink Datacenter – & Cloud Archtect / CISSP

 

No doubt, ICT is complex!
Black hole1And the demand for ICT is increasing exponentially. Pushed by technologies like mobility,  The Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data. They are all a catalyst and creating a huge demand. Can ICT keep up with this growing demand! Or is there already a giant gap between supply and demand! I see ICT struggling with this challenge. What is happening? Is ICT too slow?  And if she is really slow; what is the nature of this problem? It seems that our effort and energy is almost completely absorbed by the “black hole”. Here is my opinion.

In my opinion ICT is too much focusing on internal affairs and technology. Of course we are taking the proper actions and I am really happy about that. Cloud based on hyperconverged and virtualised technology  and everything that comes with that is very good. Still that isn’t enough.

ICT is an organisation with people, processes, vision, strategy and much more. In projects where I am assigned to I have a lot of discussion about technology and many times we are focusing to much on too many details. We skip for our own reasons important guidelines like security compliancy, governance, risk management, cost management, vendor management and architectural guidelines. Also we don’t consider exit-strategies when acquiring new technologies. This all happens for a reason. The reason is that we take ICT as an operational responsibility. Furthermore middle management is many times failing to do their job and ICT experts – the tekkies – are taking over but they often do not understand the broad picture and dependencies.

Another reason that we are more busy with internal affairs instead of the business, is the fact that large enterprise, and especially at governments, have to deal with the political arena. This political arena has many stakeholders, each has hidden agendas. When new complex ICT are knocking on the door of enterprises these political arenas can turn into hidden underground battles that influences the decision making process in a negative way and therefor takes a long time or even result in restarts or termination of projects. But why do political arenas exits? Is it because of the complexity and the uncertainty that comes along with complexity? Are we afraid for the new consequences of changes that we can’t oversee? Why can’t we see ICT as an opportunity!!!!

Another problem we have is, that over the last 30 years within ICT, ICT was technology driven and NOT business driven. It is true that technologies helped us a lot but again, that was not enough. In fact we introduced new complexity by implementing each time new technology but leaving the old technology in tact. There was NO exit-strategy. Now we are paying the price for this because besides managing the new technology we had to maintain, integrate and manage the old one. This takes a LOT of time of our scarce resources and took us away from realising the business benefits and causing a gap between delivery and demand.

So what would be the solution? Change management on strategic, tactical and operational level. And  creating awareness within the whole organisation that we need to change in order to survive in a world that is going faster and faster. We need to make everybody aware that change is not a thread but an opportunity. It is important to understand that and that C-level management is supporting this attitude. And change doesn’t need to be big like a waterfall. No it can be done in easy and small steps continuously.

To help change management and give it a tremendous boost ICT should address issues like standardisation & integration, rationalisation of applications, implement proper Life Cycle Management LCM, stimulate knowledge sharing and collaboration.

So the essence of this article is to make organisations aware of the benefits of holistic change management where technology is just a part of the change and solution. By doing so, we create huge efficiency rates instead of small efficiency rates due to technology. If we change our behaviour and we don’t give change management a real chance, the ICT will not be able to deliver to the end user as much as they want to. No, ICT will be an organisation where much of their activities and energy will  be absorbed by a unseen black hole.

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