For the last several years, I have written a series of blog posts on my anti-resolutions for the year. It’s easy to publish predictions and yearly previews in a blog around this time of year. So I won’t. If lots of people do something, that usually is a pretty good reason for me not do it.
My resolutions are “anti” in a couple different ways. The main one is that these are not things that I intend to do, but are hopes and polite suggestions about what other people should do. That is much easier. Anti-resolutions also suit the way that analysts work; we rarely do stuff, but we comment a lot on what other people or organizations should do.
Most of the resolutions are also “anti” because they describe something that I hope won’t happen rather than new things that should happen. I try not to be a grumpy person, but there’s a lot of undesirable activity going on out there. After reading this, please stop it. I thank you; the world thanks you, too I’m sure.
- Stop assuming that you are special, and therefore cannot use the Cloud. I talk to many customers about cloud-based collaboration. Far too often, I hear something like “We take security seriously, so we cannot store anything in the Cloud.” Certainly, I don’t want to argue that cloud deployment is right for every organization, or that there are no specific security issues associated with Cloud. I find what this statement really means is “The Cloud frightens or confuses me so I want to scare my organization away from having anything to do with it.”
It should be no surprise that everyone takes security seriously or at least likes to think that they do. This statement assumes that only reckless ne’er do wells would have anything do to with the Cloud. Evaluating security, privacy and compliance issues needs to be part of any serious evaluation of a Cloud strategy. Sometimes, the result will be that the Cloud is not right. However, don’t assume that Cloud is always wrong.
- Don’t assume that because end users like something, that there must be something wrong with it. End users are taking control of more of their IT environment, as they get more experienced with technology, and the products mature and get easier to use. This is a good thing in terms of usability, and adoption for these technologies. However, I have increasingly seen a knee jerk reaction from some IT departments that assume that if an end user has found it, the product or technology must be wrong for the enterprise. The first reaction when they find an employee using something that the IT department did not provide is to block it.
Certainly, some consumer tools should not be used in the enterprise. But is the risk all that high? Is the productivity hit of blocking the tool until an alternative can be provided too great? Is there an acceptable alternative we can provide or suggest instead? What does this tell us about how employees are working and how IT can support that work better? These are the questions to be considering, not just blocking access and punishing the transgressors.
- Don’t assume that when Microsoft, Google, SAP or Apple bring out a feature, that it is game over for everyone who was already addressing that market. Another recurring theme. The assumption is that when one of the big players brings out similar functionality to whatever the hot startups are doing, then they… must… die.
It is rare that a technology becomes “hot” just because no one has thought of it before. Implementation, marketing, user experience, recommendations all have a pretty big role to play in making a product a success. There is no assurance that a big vendor will get all or even any of these right. While competition from a big player will make things harder in startup land, I have every confidence in the ability of major players to screw something up, even if the technology seems obvious and easy to copy.
- Do not press “Reply all” to more than ten people.
Happy new year everyone.