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6 Things I’d Like to Tell Your Boss about IT

I wrote a book on this subject but it focused on the management and leadership aspects of IT — not the technical stuff. Now I’m looking at doing a two-day class on IT for business executives. I’ll include the stuff from my book, but I’m trying to identify the technical topics that I should also include in the class.

What technical topics do you feel are important for business executives to understand? What should your CEO know about IT?  Here are my initial thoughts:

1. Technology trends that are changing the nature of best IT practices

  • Cloud computing, Software as a Service (SaaS), open systems software licensing, virtual software licensing
  • Virtualization of storage, computers and services
  • Data de-duplication
  • Business analytics and data warehousing
  • Access to the Internet from anywhere, and thus access to your systems from anywhere

2. Technology trends that are driving down costs and making more things possible — for companies on a tight budget, and for consumers

  • Mobile computing with increasing power and bandwidth, enabling remote video and increasing amounts of data transfer
  • Increasingly more affordable location tracking through inexpensive GPS devices
  • Netbooks and tablet PCs making traditional PC use more portable
  • Increasingly inexpensive data storage that is changing the rules on how much data you can affordably keep
  • Inexpensive high-volume data communication, making outsourcing and offshoring increasingly attractive, and enabling real-time connections between multiple business locations
  • Videoconferencing capabilities that are almost as good as being in the same room

3. Social trends that are taking advantage of technology trends

  • A change in the way we get news about the world around us
  • Everyone is a publisher — no barriers to entry, no cost
  • Everyone looks like an expert, so who do you trust?
  • The shift from an observer mentality to a participant mentality
  • An increase in real-time interaction with “the experts”
  • Social network sites like Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter, and the tools that make their use ubiquitous
  • Group interaction tools like Wikis, Second Life and multi-player games
  • Tools for easier collaboration and sharing of business information
  • Telecommuting and virtual employees
  • Huge amounts of data being collected about consumers, their purchases and their behavior
  • The difference between data and information, between information and knowledge, between knowledge and wisdom

4. Major purchasing and systems design decisions that will be crucial in positioning your company to take advantage of new technology

  • When to use thin client, browser-based applications and when to use thick client (my opinion: use thin client unless it’s absolutely impractical)
  • When to enable mobile access (my opinion: mobile access to almost everything)
  • When to use generic off-to-shelf software and when to use proprietary software you write yourself (my opinion: use proprietary software only when it offers a significant competitive advantage for your company)
  • How to select systems products
  • How to make your systems disaster-resistant

5. Data security reality and myths

  • Discrediting some of the incredible technical tricks you see people use in movies and on TV. Movies make it seem effortless to break into systems and get the information you need. Reality: a) it’s very difficult to break in, b) even if you do, you’ll have trouble finding the data you want, and c) the data you find is probably inconsistent, incomplete and inaccurate.
  • The truth about phishing, social engineering, hacking, spoofing, and exploiting software vulnerabilities
  • Tools that can help you fight the security battle: Virtual Private Networks (VPN’s), two-factor identification, audits, various products and services

6. The truth about “IT doesn’t matter”


What important topics have I missed?  What suggestions do you have?  Leave your comments below, or send them to me via email at info@makingITclear.com.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Carol Wolicki December 10, 2009, 9:41 pm

    Include this: the automation of marketing including the integration of listening.

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