Monday, June 16, 2008

"IT 2.0" will bifurcate the technology workplace, sometimes emphasizing people and sales skills even more, as well as leading the tech-savvy users

Tech Republic this morning offers a couple of articles about the expectations of the “Gen Y” workforce. Individual users are an order of magnitude more “digital savvy” than a generation ago and want control of their own computing platform.

In the early 1990s, companies talked about offloading user-mediated computing onto PC’s, and sometimes deployed DOS applications (these were the days of Windows 3.1 and Rumba, remember?) onto individual PC’s, connected by a conventional LAN, often written in Microfocus COBOL. Often the environments would be less secure than mainframe-controlled applications with normal “separation of functions” between users and programmers. I remember a salary deduction life insurance sales application, which was deployed this way for about 10% of the clients.

Today, according a blog story in Jason Hiner, Executive Editor of Tech Republic, users are even more insistent than ever on controlling their own computing environments. Many want to use their own PC’s or devices, a practice that could sometimes compromise consumer security. The story is “Sanity Check: Will IT 2.0 eliminate geeks or spawn a new breed,” at this link.

Hiner imagines an employment world bifurcated into “technology experts” mostly employed by vendors and huge consulting firms that run data centers (like EDS and Perot, Unisys, CA, Computer Sciences, IBM, Hewlitt Packard, etc – as well as the Web 2.0 world of Microsfot, Yahoo!, Google, MSN, etc), and then business analysts. In many cases “business analysis” jobs will require more social skills and networking than they did in the past, because they will be more closely tied to marketing and sales. One can see how such a development could accelerate the growing (“reputation management”) controversy over personal social networking profiles and blogs and how they can indirectly affect the workplace. Of course, in some industries, the “customers” are self-publishers or home computer users, and the business model requires an even higher level of technology understanding, as it connects to customer service or monitoring, even in the “business areas”.

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