Over at 37 Signals, David writes about how a growing generation of computer savvy users, and along side it, the cloud, spell the end of the IT department. This is a riveting story of unreality that starts with this corker paragraph:
When people talk about their IT departments, they always talk about the things they’re not allowed to do, the applications they can’t run, and the long time it takes to get anything done. Rigid and inflexible policies that fill the air with animosity. Not to mention the frustrations of speaking different languages. None of this is a good foundation for a sustainable relationship.
Blah blah blah blah blah!
Dear David, let’s see some facts and figures on those people who talk about their IT departments thusly, shall we? Some actual studies showing a high percentage of staff in a high percentage of businesses feeling that IT act that way towards them. I’m waiting – your article referenced none. I’ll return the favour with this one, but I’ll throw in a bit of bonus logic though.
The post runs along the lines of:
- Internal IT within a company is a monopoly.
- Monopolies are abusive.
- Therefore, internal IT is abusive.
- Reciprocating, business doesn’t respect IT and just treats it as a cost centre, exacerbating the issue.
- Computer users are getting smarter. They don’t need servers any more.
- If you don’t need servers, you don’t need IT.
This, dear reader, is a fetid pile of dead donkey’s entrails left in the Australian summer sun. Let me summarise how I read this:
Some IT departments have a poor attitude towards the business. Some businesses have a poor attitude towards the IT department. Ergo, cloud based computing will see IT killed off.
This is a terrible argument. Basically the premise is that some companies have unhealthy relationships with their internal IT departments, and therefore all IT departments are a bad idea given the new cloud paradigm and more technically savvy users. Well, maybe here’s the alternative: IT departments exist to facilitate the business, and any IT department that fails to do so is failing the business. But that doesn’t tar all IT departments with the same brush. And any business that fails to use the tools at its disposal equally is a failure.
What’s more, David insists that IT departments have their own best interests (i.e., self preservation) at heart in trying to push back against cloud based computing, using the example:
At the same time, IT job security is often dependent on making things hard, slow, and complex. If the Exchange Server didn’t require two people to babysit it at all times, that would mean two friends out of work. Of course using hosted Gmail is a bad idea!
No, it’s perfectly fine to fire IT staff and have the email outsourced to the cloud and Google! What could possibly go wrong? Hmmm? How about:
No, see, it’s perfectly safe! That only happened February 2011! Cloud has learnt since then, hasn’t it? What? Oh, that’s right, it’s March 1, 2011. This shit still happens. Putting your stuff in the cloud doesn’t make it über secure. We’re now being told by all sorts of pundits that even though our stuff is in the cloud, and we can’t see, touch or feel the storage, we should be responsible for the backups of said material.
I personally think said pundits are definitely touching and feeling something, but it’s not the storage. Yeah, I love backup, I leave breathe and eat it every single day of my life – but it’s complete and utter bullshit that any cloud provider or pundit should think that it’s acceptable for users to still somehow be responsible for the backups of their data in that situation. They fail backup #101 by requiring a decentralised backup process. Hell, they fail ethics #101.
But users are getting smarter at computers! Well, sure – we’re also getting smarter at a bunch of things. The average person now probably knows more about medicine than the some doctors did 200 years ago. But that doesn’t mean we got rid of doctors. This harks to something I constantly get told by proud parents: “My X is so smart with computers. He/she uses them all the time!” When questioned, X plays World of Warcraft, or uses Facebook, etc. OK, so the average person is more proficient at using the tools to do what they want. That does not imply they’re more proficient at creating new tools.
So, let’s come back to 37 Signals, which ends on this real beauty:
The transition won’t happen over night, but it’s long since begun. The companies who feel they can do without an official IT department are growing in number and size. It’s entirely possible to run a 20-man office without ever even considering the need for a computer called “server” somewhere.
Oh really – “It’s entirely impossible to run a 20-man office without ever considering the need for a computer called ‘server’ somewhere.” Honestly, where do they get this shit from? No, I’m not saying that it’s impossible to run a 20-person business without a server. What’s bullshit is that they would have the audacity to claim that this is because of cloud. There’s plenty of 20-person businesses that have existed without servers or dedicated IT staff for decades. It isn’t rocket science. 20 people is easy to do without servers/IT staff.
37 Signals needs to get some real world experience rather than spouting this stuff. It’s the sort of bad science fiction that makes Skyline look like a fascinating and deeply plotted movie.