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The Power & Privilege of Listening to IT

March 30, 2011

It’s good to be back. In the IT industry, I mean.  After a long career working for some great IT vendor companies – from startups to established vendors – I took some time off to consider what I wanted to do next. I knew only that it needed to be different and to help improve things somehow, particularly for people in the companies that buy and use our products.

Through the Listening to IT blog, I’ll share my personal observations and ideas about how to improve the state of IT – with a little help from my friends.

Over the last year, I have had the privilege of spending hundreds of hours interviewing and listening to senior-level technology professionals.  I did this as part of creating Wisegate, the first private, invitation-only peer network for corporate IT professionals.

What I have learned has been eye-opening, funny, enlightening, frustrating, inspiring – often all of the above.  I thank everyone who has spoken with me for their time, their trust and their candor. It’s been an amazing experience  – and we’re just getting started.

I believe the collective wisdom of corporate technology professionals is the richest and most untapped resource in IT. These people daily bet their careers and reputations on buying, deploying and managing technology successfully – often very complex products and sometimes not-ready-for-prime-time technology. The world would be a much better place if only (1) vendors would listen to corporate technology professionals more carefully and (2) if corporate technology professionals could more easily listen to each other.

IT vendors provide the “what” – the technology products and conceptual ideas about their application. But corporate IT professionals provide the “how”: the hands-on experience with making technology products actually work in real businesses. In a perfect world, the relationship between the IT industry and corporate IT professionals would be a yin-yang relationship. But in reality the amount and tenor of information emanating from vendors keeps the yin-yang circle in a permanent spin – creating a confusing, treacherous world for corporate IT professionals.

For example, a Director of Information Security who I particularly like to listen to recently said to me, “I have a lot of angst from disinformation from salespeople and vendors.” Yup, he said “angst.”

The Listening to IT blog eavesdrops (preserving anonymity, of course) on what some of the world’s most experienced and pressured corporate IT professionals are thinking.  Here, I will talk about topics such as:

  • What technology trends corporate IT professionals are thinking about
  • How to improve the IT vendor-IT buyer relationship
  • Practical advice for making better buying and deployment decisions

I hope you will find these observations useful and will follow or visit occasionally. As well as share your observations – and argue with me when you think I am wrong.

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