I believe technology can be exploited to greater levels than we have allowed. We are constrained by 20th century business models and ideas. Collectively, we need to move past technology for the sake of technology and truly focus on moving markets beyond the status quo!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

“IT’s the Future”…A Clever Play on Words by SQS


I recently had the pleasure of delivering the keynote presentation at the Software Quality Systems (SQS) conference in Zurich. SQS is always an excellent and gracious host at their conferences. And, as usual, the conference was chock full of information. Tracks included:
- Outsourcing
- Methodologies
- IT Governance and best practices
- Organizational structure and effectiveness
- Auditing (internal and external)
- The culture of quality
- Test automation
- Creating secure test data
- Embedded systems

This was not the typical conference focused on development and test tools, nor was it a bunch of techies showing their test scripts. The conference made one question their quality practices within IT and what they were really doing to modernize their practices to better serve their customers.

The conference title - “IT’s the future” or “It’s the future” is really a clever play on words – think about it or IT. We constantly talk about the future, but do little to actually propel ourselves into said future, especially on the IT side. The enterprise IT organization largely behaves today, in late 2006, the same way it did at the beginning of this decade.

Here is a prediction… the IT model of today (2006) is outmoded. Enterprise IT organizations spend far too much time and money focused on tactical projects rather than being concerned about creating strategic business advantages through what enterprise IT may be capable of delivering.

Given that we appear to be stuck in the past, how far into the future has IT advanced? We talk about it, but do we really do anything to move boldly to the future? Here is another prediction…service levels worldwide are decreasing and will continue to decrease because of the inflexible systems being created by enterprise IT organizations. Since the application runs the business, it is far easier to see the inflexible systems being built by enterprise IT organizations…does the phrase “I’m sorry my computer is so slow today” sound familiar to all of us?

The SQS conference was an excellent place to challenge enterprise IT organizations to focus on what they were doing, how they were doing it or IT, and why. And, the future we are talking about here is not the Star Trek type of future, it is logical evolution. Enterprise IT organizations really need to take stalk of who their customer is and what their purpose is.

SQS conferences are always provocative, creative, and interesting as well as a place for me to immerse myself in German! The information presented at the SQS conference in Switzerland was not about pure technology; rather it was about solving problems and looking ahead to how those problems may manifest themselves and ultimately require more creative solutions. The conference was a treasure trove for exploring the future by way of unique perspectives of the speakers.

With an international flair not duplicated by conferences in the United States, the SQS conferences give multinational companies a global view of business and how software is supporting that business. I was pleasantly surprised to speak with a variety of exhibitors at the conference who were focused on delivering quality user experiences for integrated devices and traditional enterprise IT software. In fact, I was told this problem has been becoming more pervasive in Europe.

Continuing with the theme of the future, SQS included an entire track on the convergence of embedded systems and enterprise applications. SQS knows something by presenting content and case studies around convergence...they know the future exists in convergence. The convergence of embedded or device software and traditional enterprise IT software is imminent. However, this realistic topic is something that most enterprise IT organizations choose to ignore. The answer around convergence is usually that devices are rogue and have no need to access enterprise software. This view is not 21st century. Here’s another prediction…by the beginning of 2008, enterprise IT organizations will begin to understand the benefit of device software to rounding out the enterprise software supply chain, thus delivering more customer satisfaction. The enterprise IT organization will also realize device software is more than mobile devices.

How is your IT organization viewing embedded or device software?

The outgoing nature of the SQS staff fosters a fertile environment for networking among attendees and the conference offers an impressive collection of sponsors and exhibitors. If you ever have an opportunity to attend an SQS conference do so – it is not your ordinary conference experience.

I want to thank SQS for inviting me to deliver a keynote focusing on the future of the quality ecosystem in the enterprise. And, I also want to thank the SQS team for teaching me some new German vocabulary words! Until we meet again…Tschuss!

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