by Thomas Wailgum

Enterprise IT’s Top Enemy: Its Own Arrogance

Feb 01, 2010
Enterprise Applications

A new video pokes fun at the fact that the man on the street doesn't know what BI means, which is IT's problem in a nutshell.

The “man on the street” video starts off harmless enough. Andy Bitterer, the co-chair of the Gartner’s BI Summit, is in London trying to hunt down any commoners who know about business intelligence tools, data warehousing and corporate performance management.

Take a look:

Gartner BI Summit: London Interviews

Quite simply, IT today has to play the role of “interpreter” for users and then deliver the software that can help users get their jobs done. Period. Can you use a computer? Yes. Can you intuitively understand basic software? Yes. Do you have an Internet connection? Yes. Then you should be good to go. The “consumerization of IT” proves that the masses do care about and love all things tech.

That the “dim masses” of business users don’t know the difference between Unix and Linux is not their concern. That’s IT’s concern.

Look at cars today. My Honda Pilot is one complicated machine, but you don’t see the Honda engineers hanging it over my head that I don’t know what an iVTEC engine is or how a Variable Cylinder Management functions. The interface on the Pilot is pretty darn intuitive: key in ignition, foot on break, shift into gear and go. The stereo, the heating system, the dashboard—all extremely uncomplicated.

For IT, it appears that the legacy of the past—in the form of a condescending gate-keeper role—is still alive and well. And that’s too bad.

To many IT folks and analysts, there were some yucks to be had from that video. But, in fact, the joke is actually on Bitterer and all of the rest of us who feel a sense of importance over the common blokes who know nothing of OLAP and ETL tools.

Which is why IT is, in far too many companies, still viewed as a cost center not to be taken very seriously.

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