Information Technology Dark Side

Struggles of a Self-Taught Coder

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About the Dark Side

Darth Tater

Why did I give my blog the name Technology Dark Side? It’s a question I hear a lot. My blog is not about the undernet, although it would be logical to infer that meaning from the reference to the dark side. Instead, it’s about corporate IT. How is that the dark side of technology?

It’s simple really. I have a colleague who frequently talks about running IT like a software company. I’m not always sure what that means, but it helped me to realize something that ANYONE who chooses the corporate IT path over working at a real software company needs to know. Life in corporate IT is completely different from life in a software company. And it’s not pretty, so if you want to make it in this world you’d better know one thing: the rules are different. Success in corporate IT is guided by the principles of the dark power that controls it – the dark side of technology.

I call it the dark side because, for the most part, corporate IT does not sit in the bright shiny light of profitability and competitive advantage. Sure, a few brilliant but traditional companies like Progressive Insurance, Disney, etc have taken technology out of the “support” domain and turned it into one of their products, but for the most part corporate IT remains what it has been from the very beginning: a cost center.

Great companies will find a way to fix that, to move technology closer to competitive advantage and profitability, but that’s not where you work, or you wouldn’t be reading this blog.

There is something very powerful about the fact that nobody sells your work product on the open market. It completely alters the dynamic between employee and employer when you move from the revenue side to the cost side. It’s hard to be an organization’s “greatest asset” when, in accounting terms, you aren’t an “asset” at all – you’re a liability.

This ain’t Google or Microsoft kids. That’s where the jedi knights of technology go. This is the dark side. Get used to it. Learn to use the dark power of technology and take your father’s place at my side… Sorry got a little carried away with the metaphor there.

4 Comments

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Brett Leonard // Sep 29, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    I completely agree with your sentiments here. I never really thought about the distinction between the dark side and the other side and the relationship between them and profitability and competitive advantage. There has to be a way to bridge the gap and I would like to explore ways to do that….

  • 2 sahadev chaudhary // Apr 9, 2010 at 12:21 am

    Indeed,
    It is the age of Information technology and to inform all the society.but all the bad perception people had been abusing wrong practice,today.

  • 3 Support Stocking // Jul 14, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    I completely agree with your sentiments here. I never really thought about the distinction between the dark side and the other side and the relationship between them and profitability and competitive advantage. There has to be a way to bridge the gap and I would like to explore ways to do that….
    +1

  • 4 scott // Mar 15, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    David,

    Just found your blog today and you are spot on. I still believe that at the end of the day IT can be used to drive profitability and competitive advantage but within Corporate IT, that ability is obfuscated by a couple of layers of business and financial decision-making.

    What can Corp IT strive to attain in the dark? For one, agility. Today’s corporations need IT that can react to their changes and reallocate resources to align with the need of the day. Second, they must provide reliability, repeatable performance every day be that in availability, process discipline, and schedule attainment. Finally, IT must provide transparency. One of the biggest complaints within corporations is that to the average mid-level business manager, IT is a hidden tax, money shoved down a hole. There is very little visibility to how a $1 of departmental IT budget is spent and how expenditures are prioritized. When businesses complain about IT/business alignment, they are often effectively discussing how/where dollars are spent more than business domain knowledge.

    I look forward to following your blog in the future.

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