Biggest problem with IT

Q: What’s the greatest single problem with IT today?

A: Simplifying the way companies use information technology. Most of the cost of IT isn’t in the hardware any longer — it’s in the maintaining and servicing of IT. Harsh as it sounds, the industry runs its business by making it complicated for customers.

The result of this complexity is that most companies spend 70 percent or more of their IT budgets maintaining their IT systems, leaving little money to invest in creating ways for IT to help grow and expand their businesses. Companies are caught up in this complexity trap that the industry has forced upon them.

Socrates and the palm reader

Socrates once visited a palm reader. The palm reader looked at his hands and said to him: “so many undivine qualities you have: anger, pride, lust…”. His followers were furious — how could she say this about the great saint, Socrates?

Socrates replied, “Wait, let us see whether she has anything else to say.” The palm reader continued, “Yes, he has these qualities, but, he also has them under his complete control.” Like all people, Socrates had negative emotions and qualities but he was able to prevent them from controlling him.

Thinking out the box – NOT!!

It’s not just about getting out of the box. Its about getting out, finding the right box and then getting into that box.

Take a sheet of paper and write down everything you can think of that’s white. You have 15 seconds, go. Done? Good, now take 15 seconds and write down everything that is or could be in your refrigerator that’s white. Finished? Raise your hand if had better luck with the second list.

Dan Heath, who co-authored the book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die with his brother Chip, started his talk at BIF-3 this afternoon by asking the audience to complete the exercise I described above. A good number (perhaps nearly half) of audience members were able to name more white things the second time around. But that’s an odd outcome, said Heath, because there are more white things that exist in the universe than in your refrigerator. The constraint, however, helped focus your thinking and made the task of identifying objects easier because of the stricter perameters.