An article I read on ZDNet this week laments that fact that politicians as a group are woefully clueless about technology issues, yet keep pressing ahead with projects that are highly dependent on technology such as National ID programs.
As some of the comments indicate, that lack of understanding is not limited to technology. On the other hand, I would say that it’s not just politicians that are clueless about the complexity and effectiveness of technology solutions.
There is much written about needed Technology Professionals who are in tune with business issues, and can speak the language of the business, but I would suggest that not enough is being said or done about other members of the business having sufficient understanding of the nuances of technology in general, and technology deployments in particular. Many of the issues that technologist face as it pertains to the success or failure of project implementations stem from unrealistic requirements and constraints by folks in the business.
Of course, since the prevailing wisdom is that technology and technologists are simply there to serve the whims needs of the business, then it stands to reason that the business should control what is implemented — and how.
The truth of the matter is that a better balance needs to be made between both camps. (They shouldn’t even be separate camps, but that’s another matter altogether). Each team brings certain strengths to the table, and the organization that plays to all of those strengths is the one that will make the most progress. The business knows what it needs to accomplish to increase revenue and enter new lines of business. The technologists know how to best implement technologies to automate and facilitate goals, as well as to provide flexibility for the future.
What we need is more cooperation and communication between both parties. A structure of governance should be setup to ensure that initiatives started by each party are understood by — and coordinated with — all other parties, to the furtherance of corporate objectives. This methodology will allow the organization to benefit from the expertise contained in each of its departments, and will reduce the amount of money wasted on incompatible/ill-conceived projects with unclear objectives, insufficient resources, or arbitrary deadlines.