Saturday, August 22, 2009

The curse of IT

When-ever any powerful bomb explodes, those who die are ordinary citizens or visitors or tourists to those places. Their primary targets are the US citizens visiting that country or US employees working in the consulates.

Any time a journalist is kidnapped and killed, the odds are high that he/she might be an American journalist.

Even when Twin towers fell; it was ordinary, self respecting, tax-paying, simple US citizens who were affected. Neither the Presidents nor their deputies; neither the "secretaries of the state" nor the senators; not even a single congress-member was hurt in any of these incidents.

These deaths were all that of ordinary middle-class US citizens.

Why?

Because the media-hype hungry politicians at the top level made some policies or made statements to the effect that anti-global elements attention was drawn towards US-citizens. They stated to equate any US citizen with that of the politico-types and started to target them.

Similarly, in India, the IT (outsourcing service providers, BPOs et al) created such a Midas-touch kind of hype, that anyone and everyone, who is part of these organizations, are targeted in any form of money-flinching activities.

Be it the vegetable vendor, milk man, police man, garage owner, doctor, cinemas, rents etc. For others, the rates are different, the moment they sense that the customer "might" be an employee of an IT firm, the rates change.

In most cases the services would be worse than the normal, but the rates might be premium.

Why?

Because, the media-hype hungry owners of these firms make obnoxious statements, that world would think that all the folks part of the IT-industry are filthy rich and can be part of the extortion racket.

Agreed – there might be some folks who make such show-offs, but not all.

My message to the anti-global and anti-social elements, please mind your targets. Not all US citizens are bad, not all IT-employees are loaded with money.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

“Best Practices” Based East

There are many consulting firms that I came across, who do not have anything original with them, but make a patch work of everything they can lay their hands on and call it “Best Practices” and an “IP” [Intellectual Property].

Due to this breed of consultants, I started to get cynical views about innovation, best practices etc especially in the area of Enterprise Computing (glorious name for packaged applications).
Let us look at each of the terms from close quarters.

Innovation:
Every I.T. Services company, specifically the ones which have their head quarters in India, go trumpeting about the world that they are having strong “process” orientation for delivery and development etc. How come the maximum numbers of CMM Level – 5 companies are mushroomed in a single city of southern India?
Any sane mind knows that Innovation and Process are antonyms and cannot co-exist in the same plane. How come these companies go about taking the words Innovation and Process in the same breath?

On top of it, the customer who out-sources their work to them, also believe their words or appear to believe their words.

Recently on an assignment, one of my colleagues asked the customer what he meant by a ‘Service’, for which he replied dot on that it was a ‘SOA Service’. With the technical education levels of these (customer) folks being near to zero (if we are lucky), the Indian Software IT firms are milking the cash cows to the glory.

Most of the time, the deliverables, be it code, a model, a document – mostly is a plagiarized. They may not be dot-to-dot copy, but something similar, which ends up confusing the customer.
If there is a sentence like ‘Sun rises in the East’, our good friends will make an entire document (with more than 100 pages in PDF) which may start like, “the space around a person or object is usually said to be 360 degrees. This degree system is called Sexagesimal system – believed to have been invented by Sumerians. Blah… Blah… Blah… After a few pages this way, then talk of Astronomy; touch upon Astrology then upon Archimedes, Pythagoras, Indo-Arabic numerals… Blah… Blah… Blah…

Until one is beaten to death by this technically correct and practically useless information diet the drama goes on. Finally, the client is told somewhere that Sun raises in the EAST. As the customer is totally drained by this time, a good confusion sets in. With orientation lost, the customer now is unable to make out where his “company’s East’ now is. Customer gets into a panic mode and then and would want to buy consulting service for aligning their Company’s East with the Best-Practices-based-East from this consulting company.

Presto – another contract is won; press goes gaga over the multi-million Dollar deal that “Alpha Useless Technologies” has won due to their IP based “East Alignment Process”

Now to “Best Practices”:

All the major Enterprise Software players either have a design that is decades old [SAP, Software AG] or a mash-up of acquired softwares [Oracle].
Any service company which has worked on these tools for a while, would know the tricks, tips and traps of the said software. Company A, when it puts out a list of “Best Practices” (say an arbitrary 10 line items) Company B would put out another list of “Best Practices” (in this case might be the same arbitrary 10 line items with a different order and verbiage).

So – Where is the “Best” of the practice? Essentially, this is a trick that is played by all the players in this field, due to the ignorance or laziness of the CIO/CTO of the client’s company.

Till the time, these CTO/CIO do not educate themselves, hands-on and trust their own team members and stop depending on inputs from these con-artists, this cycle of swindling goes on.

Till then, IT Zindabad!!!