If this doesn’t produce some posts, nothing will!! JP Rangaswami, the former head of alternative market models, and before that the former CIO at Dresdner Kleinwort, and someone whose work in using technology well I have followed, and admired, has just been quoted as saying: ‘Over time the role of the IT professional will be to help clients (sic) to do things for themselves, instead of taking something away and fixing it’. This both intrigues me as to the details of how this change will happen and finds me in agreement as to the likelihood over a period of time that it will happen.
The comment is based on the changing capability of people to use technology (his clients as he refers to them), crossed with the increasing speed of actually doing business making what he refers to as ‘static models’ irrelevant. At Dresdner Kleinwort they use the Intranet for breaking news and directory services, whilst a WiKi now has over 5000 pages in a interlinked series of topics, and more than 450 people are blogging, remarkable figures for user involvement. The question is therefore why has there been such a shift towards the users’ direct involvement in technology as part of their job?
It seems that there are two basic issues; reproducing the published article through Blogging resembling buying a magazine to see what it says on topics that will interest you, and WiKi for pasting larger more detailed material for reuse. Essentially the Dresdner Kleinwort experience, and others who can be tracked down making comments in this area, is that external forms of using Blogs and WiKis have to be modified for internal use, and positioned to be the way of allowing self service use of knowledge management, or even in house online magazines.
The argument is, the blog with RSS feeds is a self service subscriber model that allows the user to pick the ‘news feeds’ that they are interested in as a push service, much as a magazine ‘pushes’ content, and that the WiKi is pull model by being the repository for reusable information by being able to cut and paste to other activities. This is not the usual perceptions for either activity which are generally thought of as methods for creating ‘interactive’ feedback between users. Definitely should be thought-provoking for those reading this!
So back to the opening paragraph, the argument is that Wiki, Blog and RSS combined with Software as a Service, (SaaS), will bring in a new model with users choosing what to use, how to get information, and process, services that suit the way they work, as opposed to the traditional model of rolling out applications. (I am not as sure about the last statement as I think we will still need our applications for enterprise data centric purposes). To me this seems like the matrix working debate of the early 90s where users were positioned to work differently in an organisational sense, now this is proposing more freedom as to how you can choose to work.