A recent MS ad campaign provides a good laugh as well as illustrating one of the problems with the IT industry (and includes a drunken pirate). If you have ever spent more than eighteen seconds on any type of corporate teleconference you should get a good belly laugh. To view the segment, turn on your speakers and navigate to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NpVv5CmV94.
While over the top, the video has all the classic elements of most IT-related conference calls: the vapid consultant who says a lot without actually saying anything, the ass kisser, the connection problems and perhaps even the one or two people struggling to actually accomplish something amid the madness. Microsoft does a great job articulating a problem and then suggests the solution: software.
While it’s hard to fault a software company for pitching software, and Microsoft bashing is about as sporting as hunting goldfish in a five gallon tank with a thermonuclear weapon, this video makes an excellent, if unintended point about the industry. IT is constantly trying to solve any and all problems with a technical solution. Everything from Web 9.0 to “unified communications” is pitched as a solution to human problems. If people in your organization will not talk to each other over a cubicle wall, will software magically turn ineffective meeting managers and leaders into the next Jack Welsh?
Before getting dazzled by the latest and greatest technology, do a sanity check to see if you are trying to solve organizational problems with bits, bytes and fancy boxes with blinking lights. While human issues can be tough to tackle, and it’s harder to admit you have ineffective leaders than it is to buy some shiny new machines and CD-ROM’s, the effects of organizational change are often longer lasting and more cost effective than the high tech approach. And above all else, keep your eye on the parrot!