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The Five Year Plan Expand / Collapse
Posted Friday, June 14, 2013 8:11 AM
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Gary Varga (6/14/2013)
scott mcnitt (6/13/2013)
Jim P. (6/13/2013)
David.Poole (6/13/2013)
Anyone starting today would be shocked by what their predecessors had to to to fight with the early versions of MFC. The sheer amount of code that was necessary to produce a simple Windows form was shocking. Today its drag and drop, set a few properties and fill in the bit that actually delivers value to the business. Back then it was work out how to get windows to resize and redraw correctly, controls to respond to events.

And I have lost count how many times I've had to essentially rebuild an Access DB for some department that went ahead and used the form wizards and macros to build their database. They only came to IT when it started so acting up and slowing down.

Then you find there is no normalization and the auto-generated code is just a huge waste of time.

But the answer should not be to take away the ability of the Business to create its own technical solutions (prevent them from creating MS Access databases) but rather to prevent them from creating mission critical solutions under the radar with no long-term plan to move them "into the fold".

I think the point of this Editorial and the article from Infoworld is that the Business needs to get things done and sometimes their need for a solution does not fit into the traditional IT solution process. It realizes that each need fits on a continuum from "Slow but Sure" for IT to "Seat of the Pants" for non-IT.

Sometimes it needs to be done NOW (create this report for the customer by tomorrow or lose the contract) and the scope and risk are such that a quick solution in MS Access is a good fit...for now.

I don't think traditional IT will completely go away but the companies that do not embrace the issue of Shadow IT may find themselves out of business.

Departments developing their own poor (technically) but useful (business-wise) solutions is the ultimate in agility and prototyping. I just wish that they would recognise to call in their IT departments when it starts to become a problem as opposed to waiting until it no longer is viable and need the replacement from the IT department immediately.

And thus give rise to the fitting moniker Shadow IT.

The IT departments that do not exist in 5 years may be at companies that go out of business because the entire Business relied on one undocumented Excel macro and nobody has the source code.

Ban all Excel macros and Access databases you say? You later find that the Business has requested a "report" that dumps all the data for two tables which then became the input to a cloud app that supports your biggest customer.

To empathise with the Business folks, think of Harry Tuttle from Brazil. Getting centralized IT to help you with your technology solution makes you want to "go rougue".
Post #1463592
Posted Friday, June 14, 2013 9:10 AM
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The other extreme is everyone get's the same increase year after year. Eventually, even the best work ethic will crumble or the hardest workers will move on. Breeding ground for mediocrity.
Post #1463636
Posted Friday, June 14, 2013 10:59 AM
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This is definitely happening to my department. Partly by a shift to outsourcing and largely due to the slow response times that we have come to be known for. (No fault of mine of course!). So I see it as a spreading out of the skills of IT into a variety of sources. My managers seem to believe that they will be able to sit back and just direct all this activity.

I'm not opposed to this direction, but there are wrong ways to go about it. Mainly, as mentioned above, is for what we now call "users" to start believing that because they can drag a dropdownlist onto web page designer, they are programmers. I see this happening now, and it is no different from 20 years ago when I saw so-called analysts drawing pictures and pontificating about how great their system was going to be, while they were actually wasting time on the front end.

I wish I could spend my life in the design phase too, but we all know the project gets finished at 2AM before the release date, then time that could have been better spent with prototypes and good data design is spent in maintenance. I have no solution for this, but if it means getting rid of some layers of managers, that is something that might work at my place.
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