IT & Systems Management

Rant: Infantile and consumerised, IT is out of control

Will the last person leaving the office playground please turn off the light? The bring-your-own-device/app phenomenon has reached ridiculous depths, shadow IT follows us everywhere and now we are accosted with the apotheosis of the consumerisation of IT concept - tools such as Facebook at Work.

You don’t need to be some sort of demagogue to wonder whether this is entirely A Good Thing. Once upon a time, CIOs actually ran IT. They had procurement policies and they did everything in their power to manage their estates, deploying a single software image across identikit desktops. Now everyone has a hand in running IT from CEOs who know everything because they have mastered an iPhone to credit-card-waving CMOs buying the latest tools and end-users running consumer cloud services to share files.

The conventional wisdom is thus: old IT bad, new free world, good. Facebook is popular so let’s make the ERP system look like Facebook. Collaboration is good so we all must micro-blog. Dissenters will be shot with the weapons of disdain and skywards pointing eyebrows.

But there are very good reasons for the old world of order and calm which was more secure and predictable than today’s free-for-all. There is no earthly reason for an accounting system to be ‘fun’, it simplifies matters if lots of us use the same programs and learning new software is a chore – that’s why de facto standards emerge.

The Barbarians have vaulted the gate and the lunatics have taken over the asylum. IT today stands for Infantilised Technology. The CIO’s world is now a Balkanised affair plagued by revolutionaries and fellow travellers.

So we bounce from security scare to security scare, lose valuable data, install thousands of services to do much the same thing and wonder why nobody can read our useless files. When will this nonsense end?


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Torquemada, not his real name, has been casting a jaundiced eye on the technology world since the Sinclair C5 was causing as much excitement as the driverless car today, a 64K RAM pack could turbocharge performance, and Alan Sugar was the equivalent of Elon Musk.

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