The Case for 'Craft IT'

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Locally Global

In an industry where automation, remote service and globalization are the norm, it must be odd to hear an IT guy calling for a human touch, in-person service and a local presence. Local and global IT are not mutually exclusive. In recent years, though, IT has swung violently toward the impersonal. Craft IT is a call to balance out the digital and human sides.

IT is now an integral part of businesses that are traditionally not high-tech. Retailers, restaurants and manufacturers, among many others, are beginning to identify as tech companies. Yet no single IT department can be an expert at everything, just as no single farm can grow every crop at a high standard. Global economies now depend on an ecosystem of IT service providers to power each and every business. Only a craft mindset can keep this ecosystem healthy and sustainable.

There is an unnerving sense that IT is becoming impersonal and indifferent. Given pressure to contain budgets, some CIOs are turning to mass-produced IT services built on offshore labor, mediocre infrastructure and tradeoffs that put cost efficiency over service. But, according to David Corey, general manager, IT Services at ATS, much like mass-produced foods filled with ingredients no one can understand, "junk food" IT can make a company sick and sluggish.

The alternative is to shift the information technology sector toward what Corey calls "Craft" IT. He admits to liberally borrowing this concept from the food and beverage industries, where demand for locally grown, nutritious and environmentally friendly food has transformed American culinary culture. Today, who picks taste-bud-abusing beer when there is a quality alternative? Why eat chemicals out of a wrapper that has traveled 8,500 miles when it's equally convenient to buy local farm-fresh goods?

Not all calories are equal and neither are IT services. In managed IT – and arguably all IT niches built on service to a customer – a craft mentality will lead to more productive and happier end users. Craft IT has three foundations: people, infrastructure and empathy.

 

Related Topics : A Big Market for Big Data Jobs, Midmarket CIO, IT Management Automation, SharePoint, Technology Markets

 
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