The technology disconnect

What it did was reinforce a point about the sociology of management: From cars to space shuttles, from offshore oil wells to nuclear reactors, the people who make the decisions are often out of step with the mechanical details.” – Mathew Wald, New York Times. 2014/06/09.

We sell pretty complex software that synchronizes clocks of computers, down to nanoseconds in many networks. Our customers are often firms where where IT staff, let alone higher management, are consumed by pressing issues, none of which have to do with the nuts-and-bolts of how ideal clock algorithms and time protocols interact with network equipment, operating systems, and application servers. Our easiest sales are to companies where some person is able to get perspective on the technical issue and relate it to business priorities. Otherwise, things get lost between IT staff running hard to keep up with day-to-day and big picture matters, and higher management who are “out of step with the mechanical details”. This is why the most successful big technology companies have built up corps of “technology fellows”, in practice if not formally. These are experts who can take a sufficiently deep dive into technology to appreciate the problem, who also understand business priorities, and who have management confidence. If someone with those skills had been involved in GMs key ignition lock discussions the company could have made far better decisions. As more and more firms become dependent on critical technology infrastructure, they will need to acquire people with such skills, in-house or not.

also on LinkedIn