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Does business understand technology any more?

Peter Whitehead
Financial Times, page 1
18 June 2009

Summary

In this article, Peter Whitehead uses the example of a book* about a fictional company overcoming a challenge and wonders if the far-fetched conclusions could be applied to the real world.

Whitehead's article quote David Elton of PA: 'But while the board is taking a simplistic view, the technology itself is becoming more complex. As David Elton, an IT specialist with PA Consulting, points out: "The scope of IT now is enormous from solid processing to deep cultural initiatives at the edge of both technology and organisational thinking. No wonder businesses don’t understand IT any more.

'The traditional idea of IT as a box with an application running on it does not reflect the reality of IT today yet most boards still think about it like that. In fact, you’re talking about a much bigger phenomenon about how the market now looks and how open the boundaries are between your organisation and the market." '

He continues:' "Most organisations still think of their boundaries as very fixed they don’t see the outside world as part of their organisation. They think it’s far too risky to break down their borders but there is opportunity in blurring the boundary. 

'He says research with the London School of Economics had uncovered two banks now using blogs to communicate in a much 'softer' way than traditional marketing. That is blurring the boundary a bit saying ‘here’s what we’re really like inside" ’.

'Does that help sell the product? It’s hard to say. But does it build a relationship of trust? It probably does. " 

Asked if this change the nature of a business, David Elton says: ' "it could: some quite large companies were already using a 'leaky interface' between their organisation and the market to inject innovation into product and service design engaging people that they did not necessarily know but who were potentially part of their market.'

* ‘Mesh Collaboration’ by Andy Mulholland and Nick Earle, April 2008

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