It’s About the Carbon, Not the Silicon

Earlier today, I had the pleasure of speaking with Stuart Hasking, a colleague from my financial services IT days, and currently a strategic consultant at TESM. We were discussing the challenges in making changes in a technology environment, when he shared a great line that summarizes the issue perfectly:

“It’s about the carbon, not the silicon.”

Most people view technology – deploying servers, designing networks, writing software – and especially complex large-scale distributed technology, as hard. They are right, it is hard. But it is also true that most real-world technology problems have at least one, and often several, potential solutions.

Further, by the time you are ready to deploy a technology, the solutions don’t have to be developed or built; they usually are ready for usage.

What, then, is the real challenge to deployment?

Culture.

The number of technologies that can bring significant benefits without changing your processes at all probably can be counted on one hand. Sure, a more efficient water boiler will save you money – provided it fits into the same space, uses the same power method, and has standard fittings.

Within a company, or even a family, gaining the benefits of a new technology almost always requires changing process, which really means changing culture. The larger the company, the more people affected, the harder the cultural change.

In my presentation at Continuous Lifecycle London, May 2017, the top three takeaways from my cloud transformation presentation were:

  1. The number one thing you are changing is culture
  2. The number two thing you are changing is culture
  3. The number one thing you are changing is people’s lives

The real skill in driving successful change at a company is not technical or financial. Those have to work, but they are necessary, not sufficient.

The real skill is with people: What helps them? What frightens them? What keeps them awake at night? How can they benefit?

Before changing technology, figure out how to help change the people, or expect it to fail. When you are ready for successful change of your technology operations, call us.

About Avi Deitcher

Avi Deitcher is a technology business consultant who lives to dramatically improve fast-moving and fast-growing companies. He writes regularly on this blog, and can be reached via Facebook, Twitter and avi@atomicinc.com.
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