What to do, Mr Wiggin? Get Out More, Get Cloud Meat.

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Posted under: From the Blog 22nd of February, 2011

One of my CIO clients pointed out that if I was going to be so critical about those in IT behaving like Mr Wiggins, then I needed to ante up with  a solution. Much harder of course but I need to have a go or I’ll be uncomfortably close to the bellyaching Mr Wiggin myself.

The gist of it is that Mr Wiggin has to get out more, out beyond his abattoir comfort zone. None of the following is easy but it is necessary. Being good at technology is necessary but not sufficient for today’s IT professional. Just like an architect needs to know how to build more than just abattoirs.

Mr Wiggin has to get out and develop relationships with clients and consumers of his IT services – he needs to understand how the business is using his IT in order to ensure good value. Otherwise he’ll build technically elegant abattoirs that misguidedly slaughter paying tenants – make you think of any user interfaces you’ve been slaughtered by lately?

Mr Wiggin has to have strategic conversations with his new contacts – not about technology but about what they are trying to do next. Mr Wiggin needs to be an active listener, helping the business tease out its intentions and look for opportunities to exploit new technology. Think consultant, Mr Wiggin. And I’m sorry, but the most useful technology to the business probably won’t be the latest biggest of the abattoirs you know and love. The older abattoir technologies are in the cloud now and cloud meat is easy to get, even free.

So this is about Mr Wiggin learning new technical skills as the business matures, as well as the soft skills to engage with the business. An organised approach to learning is pretty important when so much learning is needed. At a personal level it is easy to be overwhelmed by all this, so how about keeping it simple and committing to just one each technical and soft skill improvement each year? Most people know what the hot new technical skill is they need this year and if they’re honest they know which soft skill weakness is holding them back as well.

So now our engaged and learning Mr Wiggins is working on new IT-enabled stuff with the business. Where? Mr Wiggin is going to need sandpits – he can build them himself or even smarter use the cloud. And he is going to have to spend less effort keeping the lights on – why are our IT services engineered to the best of our very finite resources – maybe because we don’t know enough about how the services are used, in order to know what level of quality is really required.

So Mr Wiggins’ new contacts can help him downgrade some over-engineered services, maybe in return for sandpit support. Maybe put these de-engineered services in the cloud too. Anyone still running their own email service should really question their motives. Why are we still chopping meat that others butcher much better than us when we should be out working in the business?

Get out there Mr Wiggin!

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