notes on information organizations

July 8, 2010

Why heroes are bad but mainly about rethinking systems in the enterprise

Filed under: complex systems, information technology — Frank Cervone @ 12:20 pm

In the June 15th edition of CIO magazine, Jeanne Ross discusses some merging aspects of information technology we all should consider. Although the advice to “ignore the technology” is subject to misinterpretation and somewhat naive, the basic metaconcept stands – information technology needs to be about how an organization functions as an enterprise. One off solutions that optimize small pieces of the organization will not work in today’s environment. We need to look at things holistically and work to develop systems from that perspective.

This, interestingly, is where the whole “heroes are bad” idea comes into play. According to Ross, we used to say “do something brilliant and whatever the customer wants.” This created a culture where IT people would perform heroic feats to get things done but that doesn’t work anymore. Heroism is too unpredictable and tends to “just mess up everybody else.” If we do things well in the first place, heroic behaviors will become a thing of the past.

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