Rather than large global corporates leading the charge with IT systems, for many years they have been falling further and further behind.
This is not just in contrast to tech startups and their ability to compete in developing cutting edge technology. What I’m referring to here is the corporate’s increasing inability to support, modify or even understand their own legacy technologies that they themselves have built over the last two decades. All aspects of IT are developing within exponential time frames which demands ever faster responses and yet we are at a juxtaposition of conflicting trends that are rendering the corporate ever more useless in a contemporary environment.
Yes IT systems have indeed been present in businesses for many decades but the importance of their role has only gradually become mission critical. Systems that were trusted to run entire global organisations at the turn of the century are now legacy systems and, guess what, the people who built the technology are long gone. This might seem extreme but the corporate memory is indeed getting shorter as employee turnover becomes ever more rapid.
Today audacious IT initiatives and accompanied project failure within large organisations is incredibly high.
The interesting thing here is why corporates were so successful in building systems 20 years ago but not today and I believe the reason is simple; corporates didn’t build software, motivated people did. In those days company software initiatives were far less audacious. No one set out to build software that ran the organization, systems grew organically to fill this role and it happened over many years. Again I would reiterate that in most cases this was not conducted under the watchful initiative of the corporate brain but by innovative individuals.
Today’s corporates feel the pressure to deliver new software and attempt to replace these systems through large scale IT projects orchestrated at global levels (in contrast to the maverick developer).
However you cannot simply demand a mighty oak you must grow it from a seed and you might as well forget it if you don’t really understand what a tree is.