How to make people get IT

Nick Booth picks up on a couple of recent industry launches to illustrate the struggle to spread the word on innovation

This article can also be found in the Premium Editorial Download: MicroScope: MicroScope: December 2014

Blackthorn Technologies recently launched a new Criminal Case Management system which promised so much on so many levels. For one, it would save the public a fortune by fine-tuning the processes of the justice system. If you know anyone who spends any time in court, you will know that the whole system is criminally inefficient. 

So for me the Criminal Case Management story had all the elements for a gripping drama. Crime, courtroom clashes, cash, class war and cloud computing. But a Bing search shows few of the IT press shared my enthusiasm. How can people not get that story?

Now we learn that Cirba, which makes enterprise computing run more efficiently, has been in London recently for an industry event. To me, Cirba’s channel proposition is easy enough to understand – it juggles all the resources in a company’s estate of computers so that all the jobs that need to be run can have a time and a capacity slot to suit them. I don’t even work in IT and I can understand that. But Cirba was at the recent Gartner data center conference under the banner of ‘software defined infrastructure control’. The reason for this positioning, explained CTO and founder Andrew Hillier, is the role of policy in the software’s analysis of where workloads fit best.

One challenge standing in the way of adoption of these solutions is that some people within the hierarchy of an IT department won’t immediately recognize the benefits that policy-based management will bring to their company.  If so, then surely these luddites, like those people who say they are ‘IT agnostic’, are in the wrong job. (The IT department is an odd place to be if you’re not sure you believe in the existence of computers.)

It’s not so much that people don’t understand, says Hillier, it’s more likely to be a case of ‘what’s in it for me’. “A CIO might see that efficiency can be boosted and risk eliminated, but they often push the evaluation down the stack, and as it gets lower they might not own the budget that the savings impact, so it doesn’t do much for them personally.”

In both these cases, there is nothing wrong with the technology but it’s incredibly difficult to get people enthused about the story – even though there are obvious immediate savings.

Contrast this with, say, the social media world, where people regularly surrender their privacy, their time and their dignity to hideous, cynical companies. Those same companies will happily invade your personal life in order to aggressively market stuff you don’t need at you. Nice.

And yet, there are millions of people devoted to the likes of Facebook, Google and Pinterest. The fact that they know everything about us, and they are regularly using this information to mount relentless marketing assaults must one day count against them. Mustn’t it? Surely there will come a time when people get fed up with this awful intrusiveness and hit back.

Maybe his will help mobile telcos in their power struggle with over the top content providers like Facebook. The telcos collect data in order to try and give a better quality of service and to create a more flexible charging structure, so you only pay for the data you consume. As charging becomes more sophisticated, it could be that people will be switching their trust over to the mobile telcos, according to Chris Menier, VP of client services at Guavus.

That really would be revolution. I’m not sure it would happen.

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