“We’ll get to the other potholes soon enough.” With a simple thought, Parry Aftab, director of web services at data business CrowdFlower, sums up a new expectation among many in enterprise IT: the general acceptance that “technology is the cure, and problems are the aftertaste”.
Her words bring to mind former US Federal Communications Commission chairman Reed Hundt, who recognised his network’s “choking” issues by calling them “potholes” in a 1983 speech, before arguing that “policy was the cure… not treatment”.
“We’re expected to solve the problem without passing the bottle,” Aftab tells Tech City News. “Pain points are no longer manageable, and it’s why so many people are talking like tech CEOs.”
While tech CEOs and technologists often wax lyrical about the power of technology to connect, expand and transform the business – a tectonic shift in “connectivity”, and the removal of barriers to change – success in this revolution is about more than drawing a stream of tectonic-like interactions between people and machines.
It’s about helping managers effectively manage large-scale organisation, and seize opportunities for incremental improvement, just as other companies have done for decades.
It’s about steering the business towards “more exciting ways to be an organisation,” Aftab says. “They’re moving from ‘brick by brick’ to unlocking the power of the relationship.”
However, the “strengthening grip of pain points” can be fickle and materialise unexpectedly, with a new white paper by Ovum Research looking at six of the top pain points affecting the UK business, as identified by CIOs, directors and IT professionals.
Some appear broken, like the skills gap in IT, the rise of technology-driven compliance, and the need to deliver “business-esquared” software in a public sector downsized by cost-cutting.
Other “remedies” for pain points, as defined by different sources, are potholes like it being too expensive to implement new technology, or still no solution for the big data crunch.
As CIOs look for solutions to the pain points identified in the survey, like increased resource from IT teams, vendors must show business-led solutions of their own, says the research. “We’re looking to make it so that IT changes technology to support business needs – how IT will empower people in the business. It’s the digital divide we’re seeing with this sea change in technology.”