The first annual and informal guerrilla survey

“Indecision may or may not be my problem.” – Jimmy Buffett.

In the technology business, I suppose we’re all like that from time to time: absolutely sure of a strategy or technology direction one minute, fundamentally convinced that the opposite is absolutely true the next. Things change – shift happens.

Case in point: January 1999, prevailing thinking in our business seemed to be that the Internet is the fundamental technology driver of the new economy. January 2001, thinking now is that the impact of the Internet and subsequently the value of all the dot-coms in and around it were grossly overstated.

I’m not sure myself. What do you think?

There are a number of these fundamental questions and assumptions in our business, and I want to know what you think about them. In the interests of collecting and counting your feedback quickly, I’ve artlessly reduced complex and subtle issues to a choice or A or B – a binary selection, no unnecessary complexities, no dangling chads here.

And since man (or woman) does not just live by technology alone, should not just define him or herself by the work he or she does, I’ve thrown in a mess of other A and B selections. To my way of thinking, the majority could go either way on these issues, but what do I know? Maybe you do know; if so, let the rest of us in on your thinking.

To whit, I offer the first annual (and maybe only annual, if I don’t hear from any of you) survey on the key issues in the IS business and a bunch of other stuff, and if A or B simply won’t cut it for you, let fly with words, sentences, even paragraphs – maybe we’ll put the best stuff in print:

1. Some say that this casual dress stuff has got way out of hand, especially among us techies who never were regarded as the fashion plates of the business world. So how about those ever-present golf shirts and khakis? How about those gold shirts with vendor logos on them? Are they

A) just fine, or

B) too casual for a business environment?

2. World’s greatest jazz saxophonist:

A) Charlie Parker or

B) John Coltrane.


A) Betty or

B) Veronica.

4. Some say that the democratization of technology, the improvement in ease of use and the wide distribution of computing power to people who are not traditionally users of computing power or typical customers of IT shops is going to render the central IT shop we’ve known in the past as irrelevant. What do you think will happen?

A) We’ll see the resurgence of the traditional IT shop as a corporate resource.

B) We’ll see the decline and death of the central IT organization.

5. IT outsourcing in Canada:

A) more to come, or

B) a trend back to more internal resources.

6. Top IT management from outside the ranks of those with IT backgrounds:

A) great idea, or

B) work of the devil.

7. Not that I’ve ever seen either one, but:

A) Survivor, or

B) Temptation Island.

8. Are we getting better at planning and executing IT projects? In the next year, you can expect to see:

A) more IT project failures, or

B) fewer IT project failures than in years past.

9. Aside from the must-read ComputerWorld Canada, the next best publication for people like us is:

A) Wired, or

B) Fast Company


A) Froot Loops or

B) Captain Crunch?

11. The technology continues to get better, more stable and more accessible all the time – e.g. Web apps and a declining need to be installing software locally. Still and all, the pressure on IT support people seems to rise unabated, and the satisfaction with the level of service received isn’t improving. So,

A) IT support people are getting better, they’re just overworked and under appreciated, or

B) IT support people really don’t understand their customers and we need to do better.

12. Martini

A) Gin (very dry), or

B) Vodka (also very dry)

13. Weekend in the city:

A) San Francisco, or

B) Manhattan

14. Corel:

A) on its way out, or

B) on the upswing with its new strategic plan?

15. Absolutely indispensable:

A) Jimmy Buffett or

B) Jimmy Buffett (sorry, my biases are showing).

16. Microsoft:

A) buy more, or

B) the wind is out of their stock for a long time yet.

17. Bandwidth:

A) we’re going to choke on pipelines that are too narrow, or

B) the fibre optic revolution will make all these concerns go away within two years?

18. With the consolidation of the big technology and media companies (AOL Time Warner, for example) what kind of company is going to dominate the world? Is the victory going to go to those who own the wire (or cable or whatever) into your house, or it is going to be the master of the media? Winner will be those who:

A) control the medium, or

B) control the message.

19. The U.S. economy is slowing down, and:

A) a hard landing is coming, or

B) Greenspan will engineer a soft landing.

20. A survey like this is:

A) a really good idea, or

B) a really bad idea

Let me know. My e-mail address is [email protected]

Hanley is an IS professional in Calgary.

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