by Thomas Wailgum

An IT Industry Festivus Celebration: My Airing of Grievances

Dec 21, 2010
Enterprise Applications

How tech vendors, CIOs, analysts and other assorted IT types have let me down during 2010.

Gather ’round, everyone, because Festivus is upon us (celebrated December 23, for all you non-Seinfeld aficionados), and it’s about time we got started.


First up: The Airing of Grievances, in which I will now let everyone in the IT industry know all the ways in which they have disappointed me during the past year.

Everyone Associated with These Software Disasters. You’ve got complicit enterprise software vendors, smarmy consultants, baffled CIOs, beleaguered IT staffers, frustrated users and various CEOs and elected officials making a mess of things in 2010. And, for the record: “Rip and Replace” is not “best practice” for enterprise systems.

Larry Ellison. Was it me, or did he seem to “lose his s#!t” at times during 2010? (See here and here.)

CIOs. For being lured into another IT trap that even Admiral Ackbar could see coming light years away: Rushing in to business intelligence rollouts without first building a comprehensive business case.

Foxconn Technology Group. A dozen tragic employee suicides at Foxconn’s factory complexes (which include worker dormitories), and the famous maker of Apple products’ plan is to install nets on buildings designed to catch people attempting to jump. Um, I suppose that’s one way to solve the problem.

Bosses/Speakers Who Still Stink at Giving Presentations and Kill Us with Death by PowerPoint. Most of us are not Steve Jobs. But with all of the sound advice and tech assistance available today, why are most presentations still worse than a colonoscopy? (See HP’s body of work at Oracle OpenWorld 2010.)

Blood-Sucking Social Media Gurus. Not my words (they’re his), but the implication is spot on.

Léo Apotheker. His brief tenure as SAP’s CEO was mired by mistake after mistake, a crashing global economy and a lack of effective leadership at the ERP giant. And yet we now have to refer to him as “HP CEO Léo Apotheker.” Go figure.

Acquisitive CEOs, CFOs and COOs. Hey, friends, you might want to bring the CIO into future M&A discussions before you sign on the dotted line, especially if there are significant “expected synergies and savings” from “combined IT operations.” Just a thought.

Apple Fanboys, Facebook Fanatics, Microsoft Believers, Google Groupies, RIM Addicts. The blind devotion has become so annoying and polarizing with these characters that no explanation seems necessary.

Oracle. Oracle is still the “Teflon Don” of ERP software maintenance and support fees. And, if 2010 is any indication, Oracle will take extreme action to protect those fees in the future, customers be damned.

Wall Street, Investment Bankers and Hedge-Fund Managers. Just feels like the right thing to say: Thanks a lot for this New Normal, guys.

Gartner. OK, OK, Gartner, we have accepted your annual “Hype Cycles” (and may actually like it a bit too much), but the “Cool Vendors” list just reeks of worthless, indulgent money-making.

Steve Jobs in the Sky with Diamonds. Really, Steve, the Beatles catalog on iTunes was going to be a day that we’d never forget? Hmmm, I guess Nov. 16, 2010, was more important than, say, my sons’ births or my wedding day.

Infor. The midsize ERP challenger promoted a massive anti-“Big ERP” campaign (targeting SAP and Oracle) and then hired former Oracle President Charles Phillips as its CEO (who brought along more former Oracle execs with him) to grow Infor into a…wait for it…large ERP vendor.

Cloud Cloud Cloud Cloud Cloud Cloud. No, cloud computing, I’m not disappointed with you. It’s all of these really bad people doing bad stuff to your good name.

Workplace Productivity FUD Factories. Again, I’m disappointed with Challenger, Gray & Christmas’s annual March Madness Productivity Drain report as well as this year’s World Cup Cyberslacking warning (which just happened to come from a vendor that offers Internet monitoring services).

SAP. It raised the proverbial white flag to Oracle in an attempt to save itself, and SAP lost more than just $1.3 billion.

Mark Hurd. We’ll never know what really happened with the former HP CEO’s awkward departure (and arrival at Oracle), but it all just seems really shady.

Now, on to the Feats of Strength!

Thomas Wailgum covers Enterprise Software, Data Management and Personal Productivity Apps for Follow him on Twitter @twailgum. Follow everything from on Twitter @CIOonline. E-mail Thomas at