2011: The Cassidy review

Steve Cassidy looks back onto what grabbed his attention most, IT-wise, last year.

Old time practices like this are the real background to the myths that deliver all of us into the hands of the irascible and ignorant.

Users or, worse still, board members, griping about infrastructure costs when their benchmark of the 100 router isn't just inappropriate to the requirement - it's sitting on top of billions of pounds of investment, by companies able to take a 25-year view. What's more, the surrounding contractual relationship is akin to mobile phone contracts in so much as it costing a household thousands of pounds over the life-cycle of that particular "cheap home internet connection".

I guess that these conversations mark a change in the role of the classical IT nerd. We have to move further away from the pure and, hopefully, uninterrupted process of technical choices, operations and management. Instead, we have to make bold steps towards the messy business of interacting with people. But not just any people. These are people who have very often already decided that they won't understand us, at least, not if we stick to the old methods of demanding trust and decrying other options on the basis of how moody they make us when we think about them.

I'll admit I have played the part of a budget debunker several times now, and there are some really quite shameful cases out there who are the BYOC movement's rightful prey.

I once fitted an entire international rollout - hardware and software for less than half the cost asked by central IT for just one woefully underspecified File Server, and I've watched a whole IT management team suddenly turn up with big smiles on their faces, new laptops under their arms as they debate which supplier to use for the forthcoming budgetary year.

Old time practices like this are the real background to the myths that deliver all of us into the hands of the irascible and ignorant - but curiously, still well off and still in charge - managers and boards who rule all our lives.

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