Gartner Blog Network


Machine or hand stitched?

by Jay Heiser  |  August 29, 2012  |  Comments Off

Replacing a button on one of my customer-facing shirts this weekend motivated some thoughts on resiliency.

Why did the button fall off in the first place?  It was sewn on by machine, a clever bit of automation that is based on interlocking threads from the top of the garment with threads from the bottom. It is fast, efficient, an inexpensive manufacturing process.  It’s a sort of leverage.

The downside of machine stitching is that it lacks resiliency. Once any part of the thread suffers a loss of integrity, the entire mechanism begins to unravel.  The entire strength of the joint rests on every single link of the chain of fiber, which is under constant stress from motion and washing.

In contrast, when a human sews a button on manually, the same piece of thread is looped around and around.  Unlike a sewing machine, a human can push the same needle down from the top, and up from the bottom. This is slow, inefficient, and expensive.  The result is a highly robust join of button to shirt with no single point of failure.

The upside of manual stitching is that it maximizes resilience.  Even if part of the thread breaks or is worn, the rest of the loops remain in place.  The button cannot fall off unless every single loop fails.

No enterprise can afford to hand stitch every single one of its digital buttons, but critical applications need to avoid short cuts that introduce single points of failure. 

Category: risk-management  

Tags: resiliance  resiliency  

Jay Heiser
Research VP
6 years at Gartner
24 years IT industry

Jay Heiser is a research vice president specializing in the areas of IT risk management and compliance, security policy and organization, forensics, and investigation. Current research areas include cloud and SaaS computing risk and control, technologies and processes for the secure sharing of data… Read Full Bio




Comments are closed

Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes, with attribution to Gartner. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.