Politics Invading World of IT, Enterprise Software Blogging

Dennis Byron

I wrote on June 10 about the politics surrounding Dennis Howlett's musing about climate change. My point was that commenters on the Howlett post were not answering Dennis' question about the enterprise-software aspects of the Green Information Technology movement (Are there any? Or is just another Y2K marketing ploy?). Instead, a bunch of great programmers, database administrators, etc. decided to weigh in on the very obscure science of climatology. As good as they are as IT folks, they are probably not coincidentally PHds in meteorology and astronomy (some theories say climate change is relative to sunspots).


I saw the same phenomenon with Bob Evans' commentary on Bloomberg's reporting about the U.S.'s stimulus spending on information technology. Evans is commenting on how the whole IT industry is inextricably connected to a global supply chain, with the chips made in one country, the skins in another, the mechanical parts in a third country, and the software written in any country. For Congress to say that Cisco or Alcatel (the old Western Electric is buried in there somewhere, I think) can only use American parts is going to cost you big time. I have written that software has no nationality. The same applies to all IT.


There is an IT/enterprise-software implication to political decisions such as imposing a "carbon tax" and stimulus spending. But it applies to the economics of IT. IT should have no politics. Almost all the proposals I have heard are going to increase IT product costs. On the other hand, IT products only amount to about 20 percent of your IT budgets, whereas most of your spending is on personnel, both for those on the payroll and those accounted for in service contracts. You can probably squeeze the nickel on that 20 percent of your budget through the use of third-party maintenance providers, involvement in industry consortia, etc. Not to mention that IT systems and software providers are going to react to the economic aspects of government programs and legislation by descreasing prices, or at least unbundling products so that you will be more able to pay just for what you need.


But it's much harder to squeeze the nickel on the other 80 percent, the big part, the people part, unless you just plain decide not to do whatever.


(As an aside, it's not for me to say, but these commenters should take it to Huffington Post or Powerlineblog.)

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