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Entries in Failing (1)


Why IT is Failing

I just returned from the Interop New York show. Let’s declare we are interoperable, and still failing.

The Interop show seemed small and rather dull overall. To highlight interoperability, there was a “Network Operations Center” (NOC) containing 8 racks of vendor equipment used to run the show tucked away in a back area. The NOC also has a NASA-Houston-like area for onsite support from all the vendors (who looked typically bored). It’s an interoperability show, so all the vendors were playing nice-nice with each other.

The only vendor I saw even comparing products in a display was Xirrus comparing their Wireless Access Point (one large Frisbee-looking device) to an Aruba array of devices. Neither product set will win aesthetic awards from picky office designers, but I digress.

The only vendor having a visible “issue” on the floor when I was there was Microsoft; their “Surface” table appeared “down”. Things break, Microsoft’s biggest failure was not anticipating an outage and running a canned “video” on the large display screen in the “Surface” demonstration area. If you ever do a trade show, have contingency plans for the technology!

So why are we failing? The issues in IT today are the same as 20 years ago…we haven’t figured out how to effectively integrate systems.

Today’s media darlings Cloud Computing and/or Software as a Service have their roots in approaches dating back to timesharing in the 70s. There are lots of firms being engaged to integrated disparate systems, whether in the cloud or in the enterprise.

Let’s take a simple example. IT comes out with “Business Intelligence” systems, which are really little more than expensive attempts at report writing. They often fail because the mere mortal still needs to understand the (meta) data. So these expensive systems end up being used by a few “super users” who probably would have done just as well learning how to use a less costly report writer.

XML was a noble attempt to address this by embedding meaning with the data….but our USERS (or clients) are not seeing the benefit.

Take the garylkelley.com blog. We’re using all industry leading freeware with plugins and widgets to make it work…and yet we still need to do some “coding” to make it hang together so your experience (and ours) is useful.

My sense is Apple comes closest to having a seamless experience. They’ve worked hard at it, and it shows. As an IT-type, let’s architect so systems integrate seamlessly and let us provide breakthrough business process improvements. As a user, please stop inflicting painful upgrades on me… my recent Windows 7 upgrade took Dell (paid) support 7 hours to troubleshoot audio issues after a 2 hour upgrade. Argh.

We’ve largely figured out interoperability. When are we going to address the integration conundrum?