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It’s no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.
Mark Twain

It’s Friday morning in London’s trendy Canary Wharf, and I have been asked to facilitate a local meeting of the Digital Violence and Dogma Victims Group, the self-help recovery chain for those who have fallen foul of the pernicious and debilitating effects of IT dogma, organisational autism and insider thuggery and blackmail.

There are twelve of us in the old church hall. We sit in a circle, to facilitate communication. After a more formal welcome and brief introduction the floor is opened up for people to talk about whatever they want to talk about. There is silence. This is normal. There are a few new faces.

“Pantxo!” I look across at Pantxo; he is staring out the window at the falling rain. He can usually talk the legs off a giraffe, but today he is having none of it. Sensing that things are not going too well, I enter into my routine of floridly and inanely relating well-worn anecdotes from the distant annals of IT history.

As I am entering my tenth lap of the track of tedium, one of the new members picks up enough courage to chime in, first nervously and then with the increasing confidence of someone who knows exactly what they are talking about and precisely what they are going to say.

“Hello. My name is Crème”. A woman in a blue adidas tracksuit looks around the room.

“Yes. My name is Crème Brûlée; you may well have heard of it from twitter, the tabloids and the TV… oh, and the novel Absolute Beginners… I used to be the CIO of a major household name.”

She pauses and looks into the middle distance, searching for the truth, tip toeing around the pain.

“This is a bit embarrassing – awkward maybe would be a better word – but what I want to unburden upon you all today is the story of how I outsourced my Data Warehouse, my Business Intelligence, my Big Data, my MDM, my CRM, my family and my life”.

She takes a deep breath and continues; making a point of looking at each of her fellow members in turn as she does so.

“About five summers ago, I feeling a bit lost, which was unusual for me, a strange and novel experience, so I decided that I really needed to do something to turbo-charge my career prospects and to get things moving faster in my part of the organisation. I wanted to excel, and I wanted to be seen doing so, by the right people, and recognised as such.”

“In the spring of that year I had been to a management conference with some of our senior IT management team, some of whom are also here today. Okay, I won’t single out any one of you, because you know who you are.”

“As part of the week-long conference we were wined and dined, stroked and cajoled, flattered and sweet talked by a whole entourage of sales execs from the technology and service providers. They were telling us that the future was in outsourcing and offshoring as much as we could, yes even Big Data and Data Warehousing and Analytics, and they were bewitching us with stories of future successes, of IT paradise and professional nirvana. We in turn wanted to believe, needed to believe, desired to believe. All of this was reinforced by the so called independent industry analysts who insisted, in their agnostic way, that we should seize the moment, with courage, determination and illusion.”

“When I got back to the ranch my mind became occupied with other things, but I didn’t entirely forget the compelling messages that I had brought away with me from the conference.”

“Nothing happened for a couple of months until, one day and out of the blue, things came to a head.”

“We had recently acquired a media news and entertainments business – Media Macaroni International, and we were planning on integrating their general ledger into the corporate IT landscape. One morning I received a call from the CIO of the newly acquired company, inviting me to their site for a meet and greet event.”

“So I moseyed on down to Tinsel Town and got a briefing from not only the CIO, but the full board of directors of Media Macaroni, the ‘hasta la pasta’ of Big Data Analytics ad-hoc performance alignment.”

“To cut a long story short, they basically put me on the spot. Either I integrate the entire Data Warehousing, MIS, Big Data, Analytics and MDM across the expanded corporate body in 9 to 15 months, or we would have serious problems of convergence and market credibility. The message couldn’t have been clearer. Either I got our act together and made this acquisition work, or what looked like a humongous hot potato could land in my lap anytime soon. It was a career changing risk that I needed to address.”

“I told the directors there and then that the mission was going to be incredibly difficult to fulfil. However, the mood quickly changed.”

“Their CIO looks across the table and tells me that he can help me out of my hole. My hole? What the freak! You see, we have employed a service company that does most of our IT work for us, and according to us at Media Macaroni they are simply the bee’s knees, the best thing since chopped liver on rye, the biz.”

“So ‘who are these guys’, I ask. And after a brief hiatus that seemed to last forever, back came the ominous response: The Taffia Connection.”

To be continued…

Many thanks for reading.

Channel: #IT #BigData

As always, please share your questions, views and criticisms on this piece using the comment box below. I frequently write about strategy, organisational leadership and information technology topics, trends and tendencies. You are more than welcome to keep up with my posts by clicking the ‘Follow’ link and perhaps even send me aLinkedIn invite. Also feel free to connect via Twitter, Facebook and the Cambriano Energy website.


File under: Good Strat, Good Strategy, Martyn Richard Jones, Martyn Jones, Cambriano Energy, Iniciativa Consulting, Iniciativa para Data Warehouse, Tiki Taka Pro

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