Why and Wherefore?

Welcome to my new blog!

Powerful Argument came about as, during my fascinating years in the IT industry, I have recognised a need to better investigate the interaction between IT and business.

It seems that too often a degree of specialisation, even to the extent of a harsh “siloed-structure”, prevents practitioners on either side to see, understand and internalise the “big picture.”

This elusive “big picture” is not about abstracting away important details, or ignoring inconvenient limitations, rather, it is the ability to stand back and see how all the parts of the “machine”, “system” or “model” interact. To observe the friction, the clashes, the nonsensical relationships, the waste and the advantages.

I.T. is the Business and Business is I.T. - there is no distinction.

A key part of this thinking revolves around a very important insight: IT is the Business.

Far to often I hear discussions held in IT departments talking about “The Business”. For example, “We need to check what ‘The Business’ wants”; “We are waiting on ‘The Business’”.

Conversely, Business Units or Lines of Business are also often guilty of referring to IT as some kind of unfortunate appendage. For example, “IT says there is a delay, so this initiative will be late”; “IT says it can’t be done”.

This unfortunate state of affairs limits what organisations can achieve, and how efficiently they achieve it.

This thinking destroys market agility, damages revenue lines, inflates expense lines and has the potential to leave an organisation easy pray to competition, market transformation and disruption.

So this blog will seek to explore many of these issues and how they can be addressed, in a pragmatic and practical way. Subjects will include cultural, technical and business considerations - drawing on my own background as well as the learnings gleaned from interacting with hundreds of organisations in my various roles over the years.

Blog posts will be regular, but not overwhelming - with an emphasis on quality over quantity.

I hope you enjoy what is to come, and always feel free to comment on posts, share them with colleagues and provide me with direct feedback.

Some Technical Elements

For those with a technical bent, you may (or not) be interested as to how this blog is constructed. Let me start by enumerating my key technical goals in its construction:

  • Highly scalable (immune to the “slashdot” effect).
  • Highly reliable, without management overhead.
  • Secure (difficult to hack).

From a “business perspective” (and yes, we will move away from these terms in future posts!) the key considerations included:

  • Simple to update; enabling a focus on content of the blog - not operation of the blog.
  • Low setup and operational cost.
  • Clean look and feel.
  • Easy to consume on any device (laptop, phone, tablet).
  • Fast to load and easy to read.

I looked at a raft of options including very appealing blogging platforms, managed services, self-hosting, etc. But in the final analysis, simplicity and leveraging core-competency won the day.

This blog is built using Jekyll in concert with Jekyll Bootstrap in the guise of the elegant Up theme. This provides a simple and effective method to create the static content of the site. Hosting is done by simply pushing the site in its entirety up to Amazon S3 using s3_website for low-cost, reliable & scalable serving of content. Amongst many of the appealing aspects of operating a static-HTML type blog includes high performance, essentially zero-maintenance and very high security.

Why build this way? Use what you know to get the outcomes you need. In my case, this is easy (and fun!) to setup and operate. A little technical work up-front and from then on I can focus purely on the content using a simple and reliable workflow.