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Chris Bliss

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My Name Is Nick, or Why IT Needs Names and Faces

Developments in SaaS and cloud computing offer an entirely new way of doing business

I’m a big fan of The Office but since I don’t buy cable (sorry Time Warner) I only just saw last season’s finale on Netflix. Leaving aside any discussion of television’s future and it’s inevitable marriage with SaaS, the episode left me thinking about how boring most IT departments have become. Here’s a clip from the show to illustrate what I mean:

Sadly, the total inability of his coworkers to remember Nick’s name is par for the course in IT. Most businesses keep IT out of sight and out of mind, utilized when needed and forgotten when not. Folks don’t remember Nick because he’s shadowy and replaceable: like most IT people, he’s stuck doing a job in a business’s basement, away from light and relevance.

That model may once have worked but it doesn’t anymore. Developments in SaaS and cloud computing offer an entirely new way of doing business, and it’s a better way. Tracking those developments and mapping them to business models and workflows is the IT of the future, and it’s a job relegated to basements to the peril of CEOs. Today’s IT people need be active, not static, and should be challenging businesses to rethink their workflows and adopt new ones: business depends on it. In today’s climate, a static IT department means static business, and static business means bad business. I dislike FUD tactics and don’t mean to use them here, but IT is the vehicle of business and we’re not using mule sleds anymore. Get with it.

At the very least know your IT person’s name and face – maybe even ask them about SaaS :)

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Chris Bliss works at VM Associates, an end-user consultancy for businesses looking to move to the cloud from pre-existing legacy systems.