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Okay, So I Get Mad Some Times…

by Administrator on March 2, 2009

Two things put me off my morning work schedule today.

The first was an email summary from eWeek touting a lead article:  Spotlight on Prominent Black Technologists.  Before you jump to the conclusion that Toigo is some sort of bigot, be aware that I AM A BIGOT…against idiots of all skin colors, nationalities, and creeds. 

For the record, I routinely tick the African American box when race is requested on forms because Louis and Mary Leakey’s research suggests that we all came from Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania.  In case you don’t know where that is, here’s a map.

tanzaniamap

That said, I regard my roots as African “way back when.”  This has always been my view and one that made me completely unconcerned with the skin color of the folks I chose to hang with.

The main beef I have with this kind of article is that it tends to reinforce stereotypes (gee, did you know black folks could be successful in IT?) while ignoring one of the key things that drove me to this career in the first place:  technocrats aren’t racist.  Hackers (in the formal sense of the word, not the bastardization used to describe assholes who break stuff) were the pinnacle of excellence in things tech when I was growing up.  I wanted to be the best at what I was doing and that led me to evaluate those who worked with me or for me by virtue of their competence and not their color. 

Growing up in the South, I guess this wasn’t the popular view to embrace.  The Leakey thing got me into trouble with the Creationists, while my obliviousness to race made me unpopular with the KKK.  My response to both was a shrug.

I know eWeek was trying to do the Black History Month thing, but I wonder if it hurts more than it helps…

By the way, I think I am also a lesbian, since I tend to prefer women to men.  Would it make sense for eWeek to do a spotlight on Lesbian Men in IT?

The other thing that peeved me today was this cartoon that was included in a post to a Governance Group based on the Canadian Yahoo! Groups page.

capture_3

The guy who submitted it to the group was complaining about the inefficacy of trying to measure the relevance or success of IT Governance.  I see things differently.  IT Governance initiatives are coming at exactly the right time.  The front office is on its heels either because of the stupid decisions they made or the stupid decisions made by others that are now compromising their business success.  Here is a snippet of what I wrote to the group:

My 2 Cents…

The misalignment of IT and business has reached legendary proportions.

Part of it is attitude: the front office tends to think of the back office (IT) as a black hole from a CAPEX/OPEX perspective. The back office sees the front office as a bunch of flashing 12s. (That’s a Microsoft term for folks who can’t even program the clock on their VCRs, which subsequently flashes 12.) Both views, which you can read more about in my blook at makingitmatter.com (free, by the way), are wrong. But the charming effect has been in many companies the usurpation of IT authority by CFOs who make deals directly with vendors, tying the hands of IT folk who are supposed to right-size infrastructure and custom fit it to business needs.

The rest of it is waste, pure and simple. Take the recent example of a major automotive company (one of those asking for big bucks from Congress) where a recent storage assessment found that, of a 130 TB Fibre Channel storage fabric, less than 30 TB contained data useful to the company. EMC was there to sell the company more capacity (of course). What they really needed was a combination of intelligent archive, storage resource management software and a good data hygiene process (to cull out orphan data, reclaim reserved space, and delete contraband data. The latter, contraband, was huge: someone in the middle office thought his next wife’s last name is JPEG and was downloading every picture he could find of her on the Internet!)

Storage technology now consumes between 33 and 70 cents of every dollar spent on IT hardware, depending on the analyst you read. It is a huge waste center, a junk drawer, because the back office can’t build it themselves (must go with front office select vendors), because all of the products are stovepipes that resist common or coherent management, and because the back office knows nothing whatsoever about the business value of the data that is being stored – especially “unstructured” aka end user documents, which constitute about 53 percent of the data the business is creating and will continue to grow over time.

Don’t be so quick to dismiss the importance of this IT governance thing and the bottom line of business profitability, employee productivity, cost savings or risk reduction. If you want to learn more, come out to the C-4 Summit we are throwing in Tampa this May 12-13. C-4, in addition to its ironic reference to plastic explosives, stands for Cost-Containment, Compliance, Continuity and Carbon Footprint Reduction – four issues that force the re-unification of front and back office minds if anything strategic is ever going to be accomplished.

There, now that I have vented, I feel better.

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