Eight Challenges of over expectation for IT
We are in danger of being led astray by our expectations for IT. The connecting thread winding though these misconceptions consists of complexity and productivity. The personal productivity, business productivity, and various sorts of macroeconomic productivity of IT constantly fall short of our expectations. In addition, the lack of a simple, fast, and easily applicable IT system is more than apparent. Here is 8 challenges that every business will face with its IT implementation, taken from Making IT Governance work in SOX, Jaap Bloem, Doorn, and Mittal.
Challenge 1. Software Is Not Compatible: The Software Crisis (1968)
If we were to program more cleverly, we could manufacture IT systems much more cheaply and provide quicker delivery. However, because of all the deadlines and budgets that have been exceeded, we find ourselves in a permanent software crisis. Software projects are not meeting the expectations over and over again. They deliver late and are above budget. We have known about this problem for 35 years; in 1968, software engineering and the use of reliable standard parts and components were first discussed at a NATO-sponsored conference
Challenge 2. Macroeconomic Productivity Leaves Something to Be Desired: Solow's Productivity Paradox (1987)
In 1987, Nobel Prize winner Robert Solow spoke out about the productivity paradox. He had noticed that the prominent use of computers was not reflected in productivity statistics,17 whereas Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan has always maintained that IT has made a positive contribution to economic growth.
Challenge 3. There Is No Relationship between Investment in IT and Business Performance: Strassmann's Computer Paradox (1993)
On the microeconomic level, it was the renowned IT chief executive and analyst Paul Strassmann who has hammered home year in and year out his notion of the absence of any correlation between IT investment and the performance of organizations. He is still actively preoccupied with this phenomenon,19 which he calls "the computer paradox."
Challenge 4. The Percentage of Successful IT Projects Is Much Too Low: The Standish Group's CHAOS Research
It is quite plausible that business on any scale has now become unfeasible without IT. However, in practice what is plausible often does not correspond with reality. We run the risk of missing the benefits of IT endeavors or even of unleashing them in a counterproductive manner, because of a range of interfering factors. The best-known longitudinal study of these factors is the one conducted by The Standish Group.
Challenge 5. IT Costs Are Going through the Roof: Schrage's Investment Spiral (1999)
In terms of income, the investment spiral has proved to be unsustainable. In the first half of the 1990s, IT investments rose 11 percent annually in the United States; in the second half, growth increased to 26 percent annually.21 Over the whole second half, Robert Samuelson, columnist for Newsweek, the Washington Post, and other publications, reported an increase in annual IT spending from 20 to 40 percent). MIT scholar Michael Schrage estimated at the turn of the century that "more than half of each investment dollar" went to IT. Schrage called this the "great lie of the information age.... In 1990, company purchases of high-tech quipment (computers, communication gear, instruments) was 20 percent of all business investment, which includes everything from office buildings to industrial machinery.... By 1998, it was 40 percent."22 "Business worldwide ... has wasted billions of dollars believing the big lie of the information age. For almost two decades, that lie has encouraged a massive spending binge, absorbing over half of every dollar that U.S. business has invested in itself."23 Such statements clearly express a lack of confidence in the possibility that investment in IT would pay a good return in hard cash. Investing in IT and obtaining revenue from IT were, so it seemed, completely separate from each other.
Challenge 6. Faster, More Complex, and Better Software Has to Be Developed: The Software Development Paradox of Booch, Jacobson, and Rumbaugh (2000)
What businesses want is to produce faster, better quality applications that provide more return on investment. The software development paradox, as stated by the Rational "amigos" (i.e., Booch,24 Jacobson, and Rumbaugh; Rational has now become a subsidiary of IBM), confronts us with the cold hard facts. Building quality software that functionally
satisfies ever higher expectations is extremely difficult. The time is always too short to create a quality product. In addition, because of technical, business, or financial objections, not everything we would like to have built can, in fact, be built. One last important point is that not everything we want should actually be built.
Challenge 7. We Need to Automate Many More Functions: Autonomic Computing (2001)
Only by equipping our computer systems with an autonomous human nervous system that regulates all of the reflex activities, such as our heartbeat, breathing, speech, and senses, can we perform the gigantic and increasing burden of maintenance and coordination that our information systems currently require. We need to ensure that as many of the technical devices as possible operate on their own, or else the system will collapse in on itself in a jumble of wires, buttons, and knobs. IBM knows that if they increase processor strength, storage capacity, and network connectivity, some kind of systemic authority must be put into place if we expect to take advantage of the potential. The human body's self-regulating nervous system presents an excellent model for creating the next generation of computing- autonomic computing.25
Challenge 8. The Reliability of Our IT System Must Be Drastically Increased: The Trustworthy Computing Memo from Bill Gates (2002)
In a personal memorandum, Bill Gates noted that the reliability of IT was the number one priority. Gates forecasts that, within 10 years, IT will be such an integral and indispensable element in our lives that the reliability of systems will become the most important factor in choosing a provider or supplier. Gates states: Trustworthy Computing is more important than any other part of our work. If we don't do this, people simply won't be willing-or able-to take advantage of all the other great work we do.... Trustworthy Computing is computing that is as available, reliable and secure as electricity, water services and telephony.... With telephony, we rely both on its availability and its security for conducting highly confidential business transactions without worrying that information about who we call or what we say will be compromised. Computing falls well short of this, ranging from the individual user who isn't willing to add a new application because it might destabilize their system, to a corporation that moves slowly to embrace e-business because today's platforms don't make the grade.