Eliminating Toxic Technology

I've just finished up editing a feature for a DBA community portal that examines the current wastage elements in typical technology deployments - a scenario the author described as 'toxic technology'. So what I hear you say right?

I've just finished up editing a feature for a DBA community portal that examines the current wastage elements in typical technology deployments - a scenario the author described as 'toxic technology'. So what I hear you say right? Another droning account of xyz per cent of software and/or other technology projects that fail to deliver on their original specifications. Well, there's a bit of that - and the odd smattering of stats to crunch on, but this one is different.

The author I worked with is a chap called John Thorp and he's president of The Thorp Network and chair of Val IT Steering Committee for ITGI. (Note to self, must remember to register “The Bridgwater Group”.) Anyway, Thorp kicks off with a quote from Jack Welch, the former chairman and CEO of General Electric between 1981 and 2001.

“The failed promises of the Information Age add up to the longest-running disappointment in business history. On the other hand, information technology has produced an enormous transition, something that companies should be grappling with and studying every day,” said Welch.

I read a lot of IT-focused management comment and, to be honest, most of it washes over me like misty PR puff. But there was something in some of Thorp's comments which just seemed to be well written and thought provoking. IBM's favourite developer message is empowering IT to drive the business and getting the two functions to work in concert. Ask Thorp for his take on that and you'd get, “The challenge facing enterprises today is not implementing technology, although this is certainly not becoming any easier, but implementing IT-enabled organisational change.”

IT managers working with development teams with supporting RDBMS functions must get bombarded with opinions from their upper management on just exactly how they should manage their IT portfolio management practices.

Thorp's best comment was on leadership values in typical IT shops where he says that in many, if not most cases, while support from the top is ultimately essential - it has not always started at the top. A former colleague of his, Don Tapscott, once said, “Leadership can come from anywhere.”

I think that's a nice message for the average Joe. The developer on the block who thinks his or her team leader wouldn't know a robust platform structure from a hole in the ground. Anyway, what was I doing reading IT management pieces? I have a transatlantic plane trip this afternoon - that must have been it. Time to get my head firmly in the clouds.