Corporate IT is Broken

by Ernest O’Dell – Guerrilla Internet Marketing Institute and Questar TeleCommunications

Well, it’s time for another one of my rants. This time, it’s about the state of corporate IT departments and their lack of foresight.

The economy is down, and many big companies don’t want experienced professionals, they just want cheap labor. If you’re over 40 (or worse, over 50) and looking for work in the I/T industry as a programmer, don’t be surprised if you never hear back from anybody. They know how to “date” you from your resume.

Having said that, it really doesn’t matter to Corporate America if you have 30 plus years of experience in I/T. Whether it’s in programming languages or systems, quality of work doesn’t matter to them as much as working cheap and quick. And damn the long term consequences! They’re sort of like Microsoft and Facebook: we’ll fix it when “it” (whatever “it” is) bites us in the ass.

So, seasoned computer professionals are stuck sitting on the sidelines, looking for employment instead of contributing to the recovery. Maybe it’s time to look for another line of work and re-invent yourself — and tell Corporate America to sink or swim. It’s been a long held belief of mine that some businesses have no business being in business. Some of them just need to sink, rather than swim, to open up the shipping lanes for more competitive and successful companies.

Organizations used to know that the true value of any company is with the knowledge and dedication of its workers. Such is not the case any more. Companies planned strategic objectives years in advance and adjusted according to ongoing business demands. They utilized the skills and experience of their employees and business partners to make a profit in a highly competitive free marketplace.

Today, however, experience and years of training are ignored for the sake of cheap local and off-shore workers. These foreign shop workers are cranking out systems and processes with little or no quality assurance, security or understandable documentation. There is a dramatic lack of oversight, testing and validation with systems developed and deployed outside of the USA. I know that for a fact, because I personally know people in the IT testing sector who make those complaints — with validation.

And so… systems and security fail, operating systems are riddled with holes and are constantly compromised by hackers. Corporate financial and government systems are penetrated by thieves and foreign agents. Business suffers losses, both financial and in customer confidence.

Hello! Is anybody home? The lights are on, but nobody is answering the doorbell!

The reason your systems are being hacked is because they were designed by foreign hackers! And until you get your act together and bring your development back to “on-shore” and quit “off-shoring” your work, you’re not going to see any improvement in aforementioned security and quality assurance. As a matter of fact, you will soon see your competitors taking over your market share after you leave bankruptcy court.

“Pay me now, or pay me later” is a phrase companies should heed. Unfortunately, the managers responsible for the choice, selection, budget and staffing of large corporate systems very often don’t stick around for the end result of long implementation projects. They cash out before returns can be measured accurately, often moving on to infect other companies before the end result of their project failures can be linked to them.

I can’t count how many times I’ve given a proposal to companies where they him-hawwed around for 18 months, long after my proposal deadlines, only to come back and find my new proposal 50 times (sometimes 100) times higher. “But, you were only a half million dollars a year and a half ago!”

That was a year and a half ago. Now, it’s going to cost you more.

What happens in the interim? They went out and contracted with an offshore firm who did not know their business, and couldn’t speak English without a terrible accent. The state-side team couldn’t understand their foreign counterparts, and there was no way to gauge metrics in the testing and QA metrics.

Let’s face it: Information Technology has been a business requirement for more than 50 years, most especially for the past 30 years or so. There are many experienced business technologists who have been active for decades. Yet, are they valued? No. Do they teach on campuses or universities? Again, not so much, as they don’t have advanced degrees or tenure with educational institutions.

I personally know many of these highly skilled professionals who are in their fifties and sixties and are being forced to take early retirement due to lack of work. Meanwhile, our high schools and colleges crank out “students” who have difficulty with reading, math and science. The USA is being quickly overrun by educational systems in competing countries who value experience, training and technology. We are squandering our experienced professional resources by not utilizing them in education, business training and professional career building.

There was a time when the U.S. was the leading providers in the best technologies and minds when it came to innovative thought, invention and development. The world at large has benefitted most from American ingenuity and intellect. Now, we are starting to see that slip from our hands because the educational system is more interested in form rather than substance.

It may be time for some in IT to switch professions. People live longer and work longer these days, so there is time for experienced professionals to develop new careers. Past hobbies or interests are now becoming new career paths. Combining avid interest with diverse experience, many professionals can now seek independent work in areas of environment, energy, technology, music, cooking and a host of other areas. Many individuals and small businesses still value experience and professionalism. It is unfortunate the larger corporate business community does not.

Some will seek new careers because of financial need, while others to find meaningful work. Collect Social Security? Don’t bank on it. It probably won’t be around by the time you retire. If you’re in your 40’s or 50′ right now, you might as well look for alternative retirement plans. Otherwise, you could be greeting disgruntled customers at Wal Mart to supplement whatever income you may have left.

[Ed. Note: Ernest O’Dell is publisher and CEO of the Guerrilla Internet Marketing Institute, the Guerrilla Real Estate Marketing Institute, and Director of DMS Group Publishing, a holding company for Questar TeleCommunications and Questar PC, an authorized VAR for NextDayPC. He has won international recognition in 182 countries and is published in over 20 different languages. His publications cover marketing in small, medium and large businesses, telecommunications, real estate, insurance and government related industries. To download the complete article in PDF format, click on the link below.]


Corporate IT is Broken – GREEN BAR.pdf


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