“Selling Web 2.0 to IT” : People are smart

Posted on March 23, 2009

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thinking-picIn his excellent post “Selling Web 2.0 to IT“, Mike Schaffner identifies several reasons of poor adoption of these technolgies from corporate IT .  Among others “Size” is certainly the one that we witness on a daily basis. Apparently, these small pieces of sofware do not deserve the same attention as our corporate ERP platform.

This reaction is very similar as the one we observed few years ago with the introduction of unix and further windows servers versus the established mainframe. We have to notice that this trend of increasing modularity came with an improved administration interface, decreasing at first sight the complexity of the job and challenging the uniqueness of the IT competency.

I like to offer a complementary root cause of the resistance of corporate IT in regards of these new technologies: “Trust”.

I recall the words of my professor in “Theory of organizations” who kept saying that “people are smart” and there is always a good reason why people are acting like they do. They are simply trying to adopt the best strategy in regards of the situation and the constraints  they live in. When we are looking at the global picture, IT staff (even today) are spending their time to ensure that systems are under control. And the ones that are challenging the work of IT professionals every day are the users ,integrating new  requirements rapidely, using open technologies that could put the entire system at risk.

We have to admit it, there is trully a question of mistrust between IT and users. The risk perceived with Web 2.0 technologies (in the eyes of IT) is the extented freedom and power given to the technology-consumers. This might be one key factor of the discomfort we observe today with corporate IT.

Whilst selling web 2.0 to IT, we should consider addressing this question of trust upfront, and associate user community in the process.  We might be at the begining of a new era…..