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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Back to the Future

IMHO its time to go Back to the Future!

When I started out in this business some 40 years ago, I worked for the Systems Department not the Data Processing Department. The Data Processing Department was the department that managed and operated the computers and employed the programmers.

The Systems Department (sometimes called methods and procedures) defined and wrote the policies and procedures that everyone followed to do their jobs. This included forms, computer systems forms and reports, work flow, etc. We would write the specifications which were sent to Data Processing where a programmer would be assigned to write a program. The programmer dealt with folks in the Systems department, not the end user community.

In an effort to save money, many organizations tried to combine the programmer and the analyst (much like cross breeding and elephant and a giraffe) and produced an ineffective monster that has been failing to support their business enterprises since the late 1970's.

Its time to go back to business oriented Systems Analysts. With the broad mix of software available to buy or even to rent and use remotely on the web and with the vast pool of highly skilled professionals in India and China it no longer makes sense to employ programmers or many other positions traditionally associated with IT.

It is questionable whether an enterprise should own is own computers any more. I think we will see a trend towards cloud based computing where a utility rents you computing resources.

After spending 5 years with IBM, I see that many major companies are in a downward spiral and have lost touch with the customers. Technology is rapidly evolving, but we now have folks with advanced degrees in computer science who focus on technology and not business. We need a new breed of business professional to manage computer systems for their enterprise and leverage the professionals in other companies.

I was once very much opposed to the idea of outsourcing IT jobs to India and China. I have changed my view and see this as a major step towards a major paradigm shift back to business focused systems.

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