Tuesday, 05/04/2010, 14:00-14:30
IT is not Enough
Some people say that technology has changed the way we did our business before. This is not the case. As an example we could look into financial business. The philosophy of that business has not changed for centuries. Introduction of technology made it possible to easily handle thousands of transactions with many clients. However the way of handling those transactions has not changed: we replaced paper ledger cards with electronic records. Computers are faster when calculating, storing and retrieving the records, but ... we still are not flexible when enhancements, new business ideas and new legal situations are introduced.
Why is it like this? We try to computerize what already exists. We keep our traditional "specialized" divisions, or silos. Each of the silos does what previously had to be done manually. Accounting is done by accounting, settlements are done by settlement group, payments are done by payments handling group, etc., etc. Our approach is to describe the work done within each of the silos and then we develop programs that mirror our manual work. The result is that our IT solutions are not flexible because they only represent a snapshot of our reality. Paradox situation is: our own IT world became entitled to be an additional silo!
Another question following the above mentioned issues is: do we develop IT solutions properly? Every couple of years we experience the next "holy grail" of IT. The new language, the new method, the new fad is going to cure our lack of flexibility. May be we also should start to reconsider how we make our application software. Is really the bespoke software development so expensive? Or is this word "expensive" just a myth.
Further issue of our silos automation is the provision of inter-silos communications. Suddenly, from information point of view, we add complexities to our systems and we start developing IT that has nothing to do with our business but secures inter-silo communication. We never try to consider changes in our organizations, we still want to keep status-quo with our silos and we believe that IT can help us to cope with the new sprouting complexities.
When could one say that IT provided the real competitive advantage? What about sustainable and flexible operations? One would have to consider changing organization, automating this new organization and working differently. Slight shift of conceptual paradigm of automating our business and creating application software might really open new frontiers of applying technology to doing our daily business.
The couple of final sentences will be dedicated to examples, experiences and recommendations.