Friday, May 15, 2009

Will financial crisis, ironically, save I.T.?

Patrick Gray has an interesting article in Tech Republic, “Why taking a few punches on the financial crisis might just save IT,” with link here.

Gray talks about the face that a CIO does indeed belong to the “C suite”, the membership of which is a prerequisite to many paths in life’s careers, according to some job postings.

Much of the recent financial meltdown results from the lack of “transparency” in the way certain kinds of business (such as those dealing with derivatives) were conducted. But generally, information systems are concerned with transparency and clarity for its own sake, a long with perfection. At any point, an end user is entitled to get the information she needs to make the best business decision about her responsibility or about a customer. And the information must be “perfect”. IT, as a field, after all, has tended to appeal to “perfectionists” and to introverted people with very exacting standards.

The earliest phase of a systems development project generally consists of defining the information requirements in gross, high-level terms. How many walkthroughs have I attended where the complaint was “too much detail.” But then, six months later when a project is stagnating, “the detail just isn’t there.” Nowhere does this show up more than in the grasp of the information that investors need in order to make decisions for their clients competently.

The Washington Post has a chart “Out of the Shadows” on p A12 May 15 with a visio-like chart showing how a central clearinghouse for derivative trading word work. It looks like the first phase of a system design document (and I can’t find it online yet – it was prepared by David Cho, Brenda Maloney and Cristina Riverio).

The financial crisis may well generate more IT jobs in government and with closely connected Beltway bandits – to implement much more complete reporting cycles for financial institutions and transactions. And the jobs might be of the old fashioned mainframe type. Maybe there is hope for 60-somethings – even those out of work for a long time.

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