Doing things backwards

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While I was at the Office 2003 launch event last week, I was trying to think about ways our office could leverage the technology, what we could do with it, what sort of infrastructure changes we would need to make, what sort of cost savings it might generate, etc. All the things that I’m sure most of the other attendees were doing, and, I imagine, exactly what expects to be going on at these events. That’s why they let me spend all day there instead of the office, right?

Then I started thinking about all the other conference calls, launch events, sales pitches, etc. that I’ve been required to listen to over the last few months. All the various technology tools, whether it be database, server, office suites, etc. that people on the senior level of staff have asked me to “look at” over the last few months. There’s been a bunch of them, but the one thing these same people never bring me is a list of what they actually want to be able to do. It’s striking that just about every “case-study” that I’ve heard or read in this time starts out with the company in question identifying what business problem(s) they are trying to address, and then going out to look for the best tool to solve that problem. I’ve got a bunch of requests to find new technology but no idea what business problems I’m supposed to be solving with this technology. I’ve got a ton of ideas for what we “could” do, but no idea what anyone actually wants to do. That seems to me to be a problem, and eventually, when we don’t have any new technology, it’s somehow going to be my fault, I can just feel it.

That’s my depressing thought for a Monday…

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