Tagged: IT

Thirty (i)

A theme for the management away day was forming in my mind, yet I felt I needed to explore further first. Saket was out of the country, but he was good enough to find an hour in his schedule to join John (IT), Michelle (Marketing), Yvonne (PR) and me, via Skype.

I set the tenor of the call by explaining that I didn’t have hard objectives but simply felt we needed to revisit some of the conversations in recent weeks and take them further. I apologized for the vagueness, but perhaps our guts could guide us as much as our minds on this call.

I referenced the conversation with John where we’d knocked the ‘T’ out of ‘IT’ and then substituted ‘Influence’ for ‘Information’ for the ‘I’. If you’re in IT, you’re actually in the business of influence.

I defined influence. You have been influenced when you do something you wouldn’t otherwise have done, or think something you wouldn’t otherwise have thought.

“I don’t remember us getting as far as describing IT like that Eli”. John looked quizzical.

“Hmm. Perhaps you’re right. I think I’ve digested it some more since”, I replied.

I recalled the conversations about measurement. I told everyone how fascinating I’d found the discussion about communication. And recounted the thread with Yvonne about the radical transparency of the social Web. And that was my intro done.

Yvonne was first to jump in.

“I wear a public relations hat as you know, but what does that mean? PR has a PR problem. It seems there are two camps. The first interpretation, and perhaps oldest, is so-called ‘spin’ where I’m supposed to spin a line, persuade people however I can, adjust presentation of the facts to suit our needs.” She put her hands in the air to do the double quotes sign as she said “adjust”.

“Over the past decade or so this way of looking at it has appeared to both gain momentum in some areas of practice and become increasingly frowned upon at the same time.”

Michelle interrupted. “What’s this got to do with what Eli said?”

Unflustered, Yvonne replied, “I’m trusting my gut Michelle, and my mind come to that. Give me a minute to explain.”

She continued.

Fifteen (i)

“Of all areas of the business, yours must be changing fastest John. How do you see things?”

I was enjoying a coffee in a rather comfy reclining chair that seemed a bit out of place in the IT office. Saying that, the cushions were in the style of social media sharing icons. Nice.

“Well, you could look at two aspects of IT, the information, and the technology. Sounds obvious right?

“Looking at technology first, the way I see it, the biggest change is the level of abstraction the IT departments in firms like ours deal with.

“Back in the day, the technology was all about centralized computing power and spinning disk drives. We bought stuff. We put it in its own room. We configured it. We installed some software. We ran it.

“Then the boxes we put on people’s desks got more powerful, with capable software running directly on them, and the stuff back in the room became more dedicated to storing different kinds of data to serve up as needed.

“Then the local network got more capable so the powerful applications could be re-centralized for ease of maintenance and enhanced security without affecting the user-experience.

“And then the wider Internet infrastructure got more capable and some-one said, “hey, this stuff isn’t your core competence, but it is mine, so why not let me run that for you?” and this thing called the cloud emerged. So now, Attenzi doesn’t need to power its own computing, just like it doesn’t need to generate its own electricity, or pump its own water.

“And so to information.

“Now the words information and data are often used synonymously, yet incorrectly. Data of itself is just discrete, objective facts. Take an example from our production facilities – an item number with a particular serial number achieved a particular status at a particular time.

“Item no. 00256, serial no. 005693432, achieved status 4, 110903032010.

“We mere humans do not readily digest or understand data. Rather, we deal in information; that is data made useful, made relevant. A collection of data is not information – for that it also requires context and understanding. In my example here, in transforming the data to information in the context of Attenzi’s production facilities we find out that the item was a cooker, and all but one of the 52 made on 3rd March passed testing first time.