vrijdag, januari 23, 2009

We have Ataris and we are not afraid to use them

What happens when graduates come from University into their first jobs and find that the IT facilities at the office are an anachronism? What do you get when business users know exactly what innovative technologies can deliver and still get a ‘no’ from the IT department? Probably the same as what happened yesterday at the White House when Obama’s new iPodified staff entered its new offices for the first time.

Quite a reality check, to crash into a wall of old software, security regulations from an ancient past that forbid digital communication (Thou Shalt Not Email) and just a few lonely, pitiful laptops. The eager new-media team came in, only to find out that there were no Macintoshes within a range of 10 miles of the perimeter.

The horror!

Instead, they had to work with 6 year-old versions of Microsoft software (although that is not necessarily a bad thing nowadays, admitted).

‘It is kind of like going from an Xbox to an Atari’ lamented Obama’s spokesman Bill Burton. And although the metaphor is a bit misplaced - what’s wrong with an Atari after all – we can easily sympathize with what the new staff is going through. Guess we saw it coming.

Interesting enough, people in the White House soon turn out to be just as creative as their fellow-victims in other organisations: they apply the same Bricolage-style pragmatics to achieve their goals. And we are only getting a flavour of what is destined to happen much more in many different businesses.

Apparently, the officials in the press office were already prepared: in addition to using their own mobile phones they set up Gmail accounts so that they freely could send and receive information. Quite a daring step. But then again, 2009 might prove to be a transitional year in many different ways. Let’s keep a close look at the IT machinery in Washington for changes. Who knows, that old-fashioned pong game might indeed morph into a highly interactive, 3D multi-player experience.

Or not. In either case, we should learn.

First published on Capgemini's CTO Blog

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