Skip to content

June 2, 2011

1

Focus on the Vision, not the Means

by AlanSBPerkins

“Knowledge is a single point, but the ignorant have multiplied it.”
(Baha’u’llah: Seven Valleys and Four Valleys, Page 25)

When we don’t really understand something, we see division, we see dichotomy. We see the things that differentiate and we hone in on them, creating opportunities by exploiting these differences and in so doing we limit our thinking, our judgement, our potential. We become experts and protect that expertise by making it difficult for others to gain the knowledge we have. Knowledge is power, having more knowledge than others gives us an advantage.

It usually takes one visionary person to challenge the basic assumptions that lead to these differences, and when that happens, entirely new vistas open to us, empowering those who were shut out by providing access to the knowledge or exposing the differences as being false divisions, false barriers to entry.

Computers are like this. In the very early days, only people trained in the arcane would be able to (or want to) access a computer. A computer operator had to be able to read ticker tape, write in binary, then assembler, then Fortran. Screens and keyboards made computers more accessible, and then graphical user interfaces hid much of the complexity.

Programmers have been able to work with increasingly high abstractions, but still we haven’t really been able to get away from the need to be able to program, or to purchase tools that hide this from us – tools that automatically do backups, convert file formats, transfer data, dial the phone, send communiqués or whatever.

This seems to be changing very quickly – increasingly it is becoming possible for people to choose to configure existing systems rather than being forced to find a programmatic solution.

What is interesting here is the trap this represents for some people on both sides of the fence – those that understand how to program and those that don’t.  Clearly the people who focus on the end objective, rather than the means of getting there, will adapt as technology becomes increasingly available to non-programmers. These outcome-oriented people have a distinct advantage.

Those who only see the barriers will continue to use old methods. End users will remain in fear of the unknown, while programmers will continue to look for programmatic solutions, even when both are presented with tools that can get the job done without code.

Cloud Computing makes it easier to facilitate the kind of advances described here, advances that empower end users to achieve change without programmers. This is because Platforms and Software delivered as a Service typically mean there is only one version of the platform or software in use by everyone – it is literally impossible for anyone to get left behind. Vendors can work to cover a lower common denominator because it is worth their while. Salesforce.com is a great example of this.

The bottom line: Those that focus on the technology will be left behind in a world where we were slaves to technobabble. Those that focus on what they want to do will realise the rules have changed and will be astonished at just how far they can take their vision without breaking a sweat.

Read more from Innovation, Salesforce
1 Comment Post a comment
  1. Jun 2 2011

    You are right on the money here.

    I’m finding it is the Business, rather than IT team, now driving solutions and particularly embracing cloud based solutions as they tend to deliver a solution in a reduced amount of time and cost and allows the Business to get on with being the Business.

    It seems the “traditional” IT teams are too focussed on continuing to build in legacy systems because “that is how we have always done it” or “it’s too painful to add another system that we need to manage”.

    Focussing on the addressing the issue at hand, listening to the customer (both internal and external) and designing a solution that meets the business requirements/needs and only then architect an IT solution that uses “best of breed” to meet these requirements is the correct method which then delivers a solution that meets everyones needs.

    It amazes me how many times projects go off the rails at the start because “you can’t do that in our existing system”. My answer – find a better way. IT systems do not restrict the business from growing – people do by not challenging and finding better ways..

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Note: HTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to comments

%d bloggers like this: