10 'New Rules' for IT

Thursday Jul 5th 2007 by Steve Andriole
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They're not all so nice -- but they're necessary to compete successfully.

For those of you familiar with Bill Maher’s “New Rules” on his HBO series “Real Time,” you might appreciate some new business technology rules. (For those who don’t know the show you might still appreciate the perspective represented by the following rules – which should be followed at all times.)

Here we go:

1. CIOs should come from the business – not the technology – ranks: technology-rooted CIOs will never really understand the importance of business as the technology driver. When prospective CIOs start talking about network latency and virtualization it’s time to get the hook out; go with the pro talking about up-selling and cross-selling every time.

2. Business technology professionals should be grown in BT farms, the way we grow shrimp, salmon and lobster. These pros, like the fish, will be tastier and freer of the toxins they may have picked up in data centers (which are known disease breeders).

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3. Vendors are designed to be squeezed. Can anyone justify the margins that software or services vendors get? Please, if someone’s going to get 50+% margins on their products and services, they deserve to have someone hold them upside down and shake cash out of their pockets.

4. Software is designed to be rented. Who – in 2007 – in their right mind would embark on a five year five hundred million dollar implementation project? Only crack addicts would smoke this story. Even Microsoft, the mother of all enterprise software vendors, gets this.

5. Get over the lack of privacy. It’s been gone for years and most Americans would sell their personal data for a $50 a year, so long as you promised them a free Diet Coke. The fact is that privacy – like everything else in the world – is for sale at the right price.

6. The risk from hardware, software and services contracts should be shared. Which professionals (besides lawyers) get to screw up and still get paid? The rule from now on is that performance should predict payment: no performance, no money.

7. Digital security is adequate. Yes, data will be stolen and transactions hacked, but by and large the Web is secure enough to support all kinds of business-to-business and business-to-consumer transaction processing.

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8. Colleges and universities need to revamp their business technology degree programs from the ground up – moving them at least to the late 20th century. This would include rethinking degree programs in computer science, computer engineering and management information systems, among other programs that deal with digital technology and how it supports business models and processes. The new rule is simple: if it’s not relevant it doesn’t go into the curriculum.

9. By 2010 the Wintel conspiracy will officially end and only thin clients will be permitted in 30 of the 50 states. The last 20 states must ban fat clients and bloatware no later than 2015.

10. Meritocracies will replace consensus by brothers-in-law/cronies/ex-girlfriends/ex-boyfriends/idiot sons and daughters and golf buddies – at least in this (if not a parallel) universe.

Bonus Rule: Apple should be assigned full design responsibilities for the planet.

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