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.