Over time, the evolution of technical resources has had an interesting influence on more than the speed at which things get done. There is what we might call a "psychological" effect on the way people work together (or don't) based on the allocation and distribution of computational resources. A clear example lies in the miniaturization of computers. Thirty-five years ago, analysts time-shared on huge computers housed in separate rooms; the services provided were purely operational as the computers did not contain any business intelligence applications at all. Twenty years ago, we ushered in the era of both the minicomputer (operating as a "departmental resource") and the personal computer, along with the trend of distributed computing. With a machine on his or her desktop, a business manager could make use of local applications (seminal personal business applications such as VisiCalc or WordPerfect) for both operational and intelligence-oriented processing; one no longer needed to be a FORTRAN IV programmer carrying stacks of punch cards to use computers. There was a need for technical support, and the concept of the information technology (IT) department evolved into a technology development, support and evaluation organization investigating new hardware and applications, etc.

However, the way the information technology department has evolved has imposed an artificial boundary between those who require computer services and those who provide them, mostly because the ability to build user-friendly software has broken down the barrier that was blocking the entry to computer exploitation. In turn, there is a greater need for both technicians to solve problems with computer use, as well as those who can translate a business user's problems into a collection of technical issues. While the way that these IT personnel were compensated evolved into complicated charge-backs and accounting tricks, it was clear that the division between business and IT is essentially a budgetary one: IT is a cost center, as opposed to the business units, which are supposed to be profit centers. However, this split imposes a deeper philosophical division between information technology providers and business users because the interaction framework is built around the IT folks asking the business folks to support (monetarily) the IT initiatives.

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