The lighter side of tech: Michael Jackson and technology

It's been a while since I blogged - and even longer since I did something a bit light hearted - so I thought it's time to make a comment on something about tech that has been bugging me recently.

So Michael Jackson and technology seem like very loosely related issues - and they definitely are. But the death of such a "big name" is quite a rare occurrence - and it makes people think back to the last time someone with such a high profile passed away, and how they reacted then. And at the same time, it demonstrates how technology, that is ultimately designed to connect people, actually ends up keeping us apart (or at least reminding us of the fact that we are apart).

When I think back to the last big "star" that passed away, in any territory of the world connected to the United Kingdom, it was probably the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. This happened in August 1997. In North America, people have been comparing Michael Jackson's passing to that of Elvis, Buddy Holly, and the likes. Such big events act as markers of time. People remember where they were when they heard of Elvis', President Kennedy's, and Lady Diana's deaths. And often these were shared experiences - people remember who they were with at the time - as often they heard this information from other people. I remember driving on Spit Road in Sydney when it was announced on the radio that Diana, Princess of Wales, had passed away. I had my partner (now wife) and friends in the car with me at the time. We shared the experience, and somehow even bonded over it.

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Good news for IT folks - server sales are down!

I read on a twitter post recently that according to some recent research by Gartner, server sales are down 24%. And today I saw an article based on some IDC research that in Australia they are down by 39%. In my humble opinion, this is good news for IT leaders in Asia Pacific.

So why is it good news that server sales are down? The way I see it, IT departments are still serving their clients, web sites are not crashing, applications are stable, and generally IT systems in the region are running pretty well. So it seems that IT departments are doing well without all the extra hardware expenses.

The economic downturn has been a good thing for IT leaders. They have been forced to look for new ways of doing things - they have challenged the accepted wisdom. And they have continued to deliver what the business requires and have not had to buy a new piece of equipment every time they want to implement a new capability within the business. IT departments are now being given the license they have been asking for to consolidate systems across business units, departments and/or applications. Virtualisation, SaaS, cloud computing, SOA and many other technologies or technology-assisted services have come to the fore to allow IT departments to continue to deliver on the their requirements.

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Previous IT Project Failures Do Not Matter When Choosing An IT Service Provider

by Tim Sheedy
A factor that tends to be considered when choosing an IT service provider is how many project failures they have had – particularly when some of those failures are large, costly, and well-publicized. And if that is not a formal consideration, project failures are often on the mind of sourcing organizations. In fact many companies that I have spoken with over the past 12 months have actively excluded some players from their short list due to their previous failures. These types of metrics tend to work against the large players as they have more contracts and therefore, if they run at an industry average failure rate, they are most likely to have more failures. IBM, as the company that probably does the most IT projects, has the most failures (assuming that their failure rate is the same as that of their competitors) – and this works against them. I have actually heard people say that they would never have IBM in as an IT services partner because of the fact that so many of their projects fail. And this does not only refer to IBM – you could switch in any large IT services vendor’s name here as the sheer number of projects they work on means that they are likely to have more problems too (as very few IT projects go smoothly). If the failure rate is 1 in 10 (and this is just a guess) then a vendor that has undertaken 1,000 projects will have more failures than one who has undertaken 10…

In my humble opinion, focusing on failures or project problems is a short-sighted view. Project failure is rarely the fault of your IT services partner – even if it is, it is your fault for not managing the process effectively and pulling them up before it turns into a failure. The only time when the partner is to blame is when they promise to do something that simply is not possible – and again, they are probably just responding to your impossible requests.

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