Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Toto. We're not in Kansas anymore!

I never understood the whole Mac/Windows/Linux/UNIX wars thing.

I've been in the tech industry long enough to remember Mainframe Vs. LAN, NetWare Vs. LAN Manager, Windows Vs. OS/2, Netscape Vs. Internet Explorer and all the rest of them, and there's been a lot. These “wars” proved one thing - they are the invention of small minds who want to fight an ego fuelled crusads.

Its a guaranteed way to spend money like a drunken sailor and deliver a sub-par system.

Following on from my post Here we go down the Yellow Brick Road because there’s a Pot of Gold at the end of the Rainbow I wanted to talk about some more of the happenings at my client site in Brisbane.

It was the first day, officially, on the job. I arrived and did the whole sign in and meet and greet thing and then got introduced to the IT guys by the Financial Controller.

It was pretty obvious that she was about as popular as a turd in a swimming pool with them. She introduced me to all the guys and then proceeded to talk to them like she was:

a) Really knowledgable in technology, and
b) Doing them a favour

Then she left leaving me there. Surrounded by a group of people that she’d just riled up to the point where they made the rampaging hordes of Gengis Khan look like a rambunctious bunch of primary school kids.

Talk about a pregnant pause.

The IT Manager looked like he was about to order a hit on me and the rest of his team looked like they were drawing straws to decide who’d be the first to take the job.

The IT Manager, lets call him George, and I went down the road for a coffee and had a long conversation about how this sad, sorry state of affairs had come about.

The way the story went was that prior to the new Financial Controller the IT department was focused on the mantra, ‘low cost, high availability, provide the functionality the business wants without the expensive shiny toys’. After she started with the company it became an exercise in ‘tech trend of the week’.

It turned out that in her last job she had inherited IT because finance were the biggest consumers of technology resources and no one else wanted the job.

When she took this job she immediately went to work telling everyone exactly how much she could improve IT because of her vast experience in the strategic and operational deployment and use of technology. She’d been doing it for about 6 years. George had been in the IT industry since the mainframe days and had seen it all.

The owners of the business bought into this hook, line and sinker and let her have responsibility for IT.

That was how this whole sorry, expensive saga began.

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