Bleeding edge vs. laggards

Based as I am at IBM Hursley, I spend a lot of time interacting with colleagues and friends who sit closer to the leading/bleeding edge in terms of technology adoption than most other people. I imagine this to be down to their technical backgrounds – and are thus more excited by new technology. Now I also had a technical background, and while I am interested in new technology I tend to be more of a laggard in terms of technology adoption. If I choose to buy something it is more with an expectation that it will last a long while. For example I only recently got a smartphone for the first time, and that was to replace a phone I had for 5 years. Also our 2 main TVs in the house are large CRTs and I don’t feel any real need to replace them yet. If they are still working fine then why should you?

To be honest I think this helps me understand how business thinks in their use of enterprise IT systems. Businesses don’t spend money lightly – certainly not on IT systems. And when they do they need to buy the right ones and run them for a decade or more. That is what is in my mind as I review our product portfolio. I know there is a certain school of thought that subscribes to the ‘good enough’ practice. Helping to justify what may not be the best long term solution – but good enough for right now. That might be good enough for grabbing lunch when you are hungry – we have all done that when we are out and about – but sometimes had cause to regret it.

If I had a tight budget and was running an IT environment, I am not sure I would be putting in place a ‘good enough’ environment. I would want to be sure enough of the value of the project to the business that I wanted to get the right system for the job. Not just the right one for right now.

From a vendor’s perspective I think we have to recognize this – and to do our best to reflect the real value of our offering to address the customer need and deliver real value. being able to do that is almost as important as building the right product to begin with. That is certainly what I will be trying to do with WebSphere MQ


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