Corporate Inertia – No Special Needs for IT

In 2000, I worked on upgrading our laptops and desktops from Windows 95 to Windows 98. The project was completed in 2001. By that time it would have been much better to have moved directly to Windows 2000. That was my first but certainly not my last encounter with corporate inertia. Why do corporations accumulate this kind of inertia? Why don’t they strive to remain agile at all costs?

This is what comes from having tailor made rather than COTS internal systems. Having custom systems seems like a good idea because our needs are “so special”. After that it’s not long until you have created such a Web of special needs that you have no choice but to take special “classes”.

Wouldn’t it be more logical to have a policy of always updating, browser, O/S, office suite and all the other basic productivity stuff? Sure that will create problems for some system owners but why should their problems be everybody else’s problem?

But then, I’m not sure how products are managed in IT departments – perhaps they have a projecty view where it is more or less “fire and forget”? Could they be more agile?

I think we can all agree that professional level products don’t break because users’ upgrade their browsers? Product managers should constantly monitor the market for relevant trends, e.g that IE8 has reached EOL. They should react to these trends and because they have a professional product including CI (at least) and have designed vendor and dependency management into the product from the start there is no need for a big bang. Instead small step by step improvements can be made.

If that isn’t a viable option, then we need to think Cloud and BYOD. Indeed, that’s just what many corporations are beginning to do. Why create your own software for e.g. facility management when you can simply outsource facility management and trust your outsourcing vendor to take care of the IT needs for running their business on your behalf? That has both upsides and downsides. What is your exit strategy? Because if you don’t look out — you will be stuck not just with an IT system but with a whole partner.

Image sources

  • Windows 98 running in Qemu in Ubuntu Netbook Remix on an O2 joggler.: Les Pounder on Flickr | CC BY NC SA 2.0

Image sources

  • Windows 98 running in Qemu in Ubuntu Netbook Remix on an O2 joggler.: Les Pounder on Flickr | CC BY NC SA 2.0

About Greger Wikstrand

Greger Wikstrand, Ph.D. M.Sc. is a TOGAF 9 certified enterprise architect with an interest in e-heatlh, m-health and all things agile as well as processes, methods and tools. Greger Wikstrand works as a consultant at Capgemini where he alternates between enterprise agile coaching, problem solving and designing large scale e-health services ...


  1. Funny, just as I finished this post, I found this on Google+

  2. Pingback: Switcher's curse and legacy decisions - Greger Wikstrand

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