Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Decision Velocity ~ IT Velocity

I enjoyed Jim Stogdill's recent post My Web Doesn't Like Your Enterprise, at Least While it's More Fun, about the various perceptions around the speed of Enterprise IT versus Web IT.  He writes
"Artur replied with this quote from one of his friends employed at a large enterprise: "What took us a weekend to do, has taken 18 months here." That concise statement seems to sum up the view of the enterprise, and I'm not surprised. For nearly six years I've been swimming in the spirit-sapping molasses that is the Department of Defense IT Enterprise so I'm quite familiar with the sentiment.I often express it myself."

Jim goes on to say that Enterprise IT is like this for good reason, a natural outgrowth of what is important to their business, their customers, and their shareholders, and that eventually the web too will be this boring, this predictable, and this unexciting.  Perhaps, but it there is another side to this discussion.

IT is the whipping boy because they are in an unfair position: the world is moving faster, business is moving faster, compliance is getting harder, budgets are shrinking, yet the kids in the Cloud can afford to make mistakes (think: Twitter downtime) with no one caring, and so IT consumers (employees) have unrealistic expectations (think: be as good as my stuff at home, dammit).

But I've worked with plenty of smart IT shops who see the consumerization of software, and participatory software in general, as a key piece of the solution to their particular pain.  Plumtree Software was successful for a simple reason: IT could control what people could build, but the particpants could craft it to their needs, getting them off the back of IT.  Social software in general is filling this need today, as Gartner talks about more and more often.  Social software designed for the Enterprise can turn IT into the hero, not the bottleneck, which is why this is such a fascinating space.

Decision Velocity requies tools that allow participation, as I've mentioned before.  Since decisions also often require facts, this participation will often need to be allowed by IT.  So this is the point in the post when I plead: Mr. CIO, Mr. Director of IT:  Please look for a way to unblock your users.  The productivity of your organization hangs in the balance.  Don't take an "us versus them" approach with the gang in the Cloud, look at ways to use participatory software in your house, and hold the vendors accountable to your needs.  We need a better workplace and you are key to helping us make it happen.  Thank you.  It has been a pleasure.


  1. Decision-making being slowed by IT is one factor.

    The discussion that Bo Ilic found here refers to the problem of collaborative decision-making in a large group of 100 people, and the poor support for that in software systems:

    From their perspective, a divide-and-conquer approach would seem to solve the problem with the large group of people.

    However, there is a consensus that existing software systems are not up to the task.

  2. Can I take part of your post to my blog?really like this,mate