IT Is Slow? Not Our Fault - InformationWeek

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10/17/2014
11:20 AM
Grumpy IT Guy
Grumpy IT Guy
Commentary
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IT Is Slow? Not Our Fault

Everyone's telling IT to hurry up. Bah! Compared to other parts of the organization, IT is greased lightning.

Cubicle Sins: 10 Coworkers Who Drive You Crazy
Cubicle Sins: 10 Coworkers Who Drive You Crazy
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Business unit slowness. Let me count the ways.

Procurement is where dreams go to die. Some of the times "IT is slow," the trail leads back to procurement. Rules, rules, rules. We can buy anything we want as long as it's from one of the big existing players. But in the tech world, new things come from new vendors. New vendors don't like our sign-up process. One quips to me, how about instead of paperwork, we just walk through hot coals? It would be quicker.

[For more on what makes Grumpy IT Guy grumpy, see Grumpy IT Guy: Finance Wars.]

If procurement is where dreams go to die, legal is where dreams go to languish. How many times have we done projects where everything is goes well ... except the contracts.

We send something to legal, and it is so slow getting something back, I imagine the process like this. They get our contracts for approval in our state-of-the-art electronic approvals system. I bet they print it out. Then they write it out longhand, just to really appreciate every ... single ... word. After which they painstakingly translate the changes back into MS Word. Maybe they re-type everything into the approval system.

I don't know. What I do know is that it takes a really long time and five follow-ups before we get something back from legal.

(Source: Pixabay)
(Source: Pixabay)

Even when we do get something back from legal, it creates unnecessary time-suck drama. Our BigCo legal feels that all liability should be on the other party's side. One vendor recently complained about terms that legal inserted: "If there's some data breach five years from now, we can be named for infinite liability?" They wouldn't sign. More delays while we found a vendor that would. Memo to CEO, never sent: Maybe if we were reasonable in our contract demands, projects wouldn't be quite as slow?

One grumpy IT guy at another company told me they don't cancel projects when vendors don't sign with ridiculous terms and conditions, they just offshore with India, because India doesn't care if they have infinite liability ... because by the time they get sued, they will have gone through three entity changes, good luck with your international lawsuit.

Lines of business are no better. We have a great idea. Our contact in the business unit says great idea. Then it goes up the chain of command. Maybe chain of command is where dreams go to die. OK, maybe not all ideas are big great ideas. But the DELAYS are always big. When the answer is yes, after much delay they come back to IT: Implement IMMEDIATELY!

Think agile IT is great? Think speedy IT is greater? But we are not going to get there until everybody agrees to speed up. More agile business is not just about IT.

If the world wasn't changing, we might continue to view IT purely as a service organization, and ITSM might be the most important focus for IT leaders. But it's not, it isn't, and it won't be -- at least not in its present form. Get the Research: Beyond IT Service Management report today. (Free registration required.)

Grumpy IT Guy avoided historic disasters and clueless people while working his way up the IT ranks, but he retained his keen sense of humor. He now leads an IT organization somewhere in America, as part of the FBI's Grump Protection Program. Need advice? Send questions to ... View Full Bio
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Laurianne
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Laurianne,
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10/21/2014 | 2:08:59 PM
Re: Lawyers and Procurement: A Match Made ....
We heard a lot about this from attendees at our recent IT Leadership Summit at Interop. I don't think IT and legal have ever spoken the same language, but now IT is feeling the delay factor more (are we still waiting for procurement?) when project timelines are weeks or a couple of months instead of a year or more.
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
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10/20/2014 | 9:12:37 AM
Re: Lawyers and Procurement: A Match Made ....
It seems like I've heard a lot more complaints lately about procurement when it comes to IT. Is there something happening out there that's making this conflict worse? I'm hearing more complaints about how procurement teams don't understand the nuances of technology, and that understanding tech is not a priority among procurement. 
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
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10/17/2014 | 4:07:06 PM
IT doesn't necessarily deserve the "too slow" rap
It's easy to cite employee perception of IT as too slow and the dept. of "no." But line of business needs are extensive, if not limitless. IT's budget is not. No one, not even agile experts, have found a way to produce software as fast as business units can change the requirements. The assessment of IT's speed of output should be tied to productivity, not the state of mind of its end users. With some kind of objective gauge, it would emerge as one of the most productive units in the company -- but producing code, code changes or code integrations requires time.  
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