≡ Menu
David Lee King

Becoming a Technology Agnostic



I recently read an article about technology change on Lucas McDonnell’s unCommon Knowledge blog. This is definitely worth a read – especially for IT managers and IT departments.

Why? Lucas says this: “the increasing pace of technology change requires us to be more innovative in how we both adopt and maintain technologies,” and then provides some tips on how to do this. The tips are:

  1. Research technologies not only before you adopt them, but also while you’re using them.
  2. Don’t get emotionally attached to a particular technology.
  3. Continuously research competing technologies to the ones you are using now.
  4. Don’t build yourself into a corner.

I have heard more than one library IT department say things like “we are a Microsoft shop” or “we’ll never go Mac.” Instead of saying these things, why not do this instead: look at the technology landscape, assess your library’s needs, and then base your decisions on goals and potential outcomes? if you did that, it’s quite possible that some of those “Microsoft Shop” types of statements would go away.

For example, in the web world many libraries are traditionally IIS/.asp/MS SQL users. But if you really assess emerging web trends, you might notice that most of the emerging web uses Linux/Apache/MySQL/.php (better known as LAMP) these days. And many of the newer APIs and add-on web 2.0 services gravitate towards LAMP. So – is your web and/or IT department starting to look seriously at migrating from Microsoft to Linux? From IIS to Apache? And if not, why not?

Another thing to think about – how many of your IT departments understand web 2.0 – blogs, RSS, Wikis, and instant messaging, for starters? Not just grasping the general concept, but actually participating in it? Using and testing out these new web-based tools? My guess is not too many. It’s important for IT departments to not only understand how to maintain the back-end of a blog on a web server, but to also really know how they work. And that requires a certain amount of immersion into the technology. It requires them to read and subscribe to blogs; see how trackbacks work; find out how to hack into some APIs to make these fledgling services better. Etc.

Becoming a technology agnostic will steer us out of that corner and back onto the innovation track.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://walt.lishost.org/ walt crawford

    This sounds very good. And I assume that it doesn’t just work one way: That groups wedded to Macs or Linux should consider the possibility that, under some circumstances, MS might offer the best solution.

  • http://walt.lishost.org walt crawford

    This sounds very good. And I assume that it doesn’t just work one way: That groups wedded to Macs or Linux should consider the possibility that, under some circumstances, MS might offer the best solution.

  • http://www.lucasmcdonnell.com Lucas McDonnell

    I’m glad you enjoyed the article. When assessing technology solutions, there are certainly too many times where the decision maker has already made a decision about the technology in question — and isn’t really taking an objective look at the business requirements set out by the project’s stakeholders.

    By the way, I really enjoyed your post on making time for 2.0 — I find ‘Web 2.0′ is an often misunderstood term, and it’s great to see someone putting some context around it for others.

  • http://www.lucasmcdonnell.com/ Lucas McDonnell

    I’m glad you enjoyed the article. When assessing technology solutions, there are certainly too many times where the decision maker has already made a decision about the technology in question — and isn’t really taking an objective look at the business requirements set out by the project’s stakeholders.

    By the way, I really enjoyed your post on making time for 2.0 — I find ‘Web 2.0′ is an often misunderstood term, and it’s great to see someone putting some context around it for others.

  • davidleeking

    Walt – you’re right. I’d envision it working all ways; not just PC to Mac.

  • davidleeking

    Walt – you’re right. I’d envision it working all ways; not just PC to Mac.

  • http://www.online-issues.com/ Mat

    yeah if that you say so…web 2.0 just a gimmick :(
    Cheers,

  • http://www.online-issues.com Mat

    yeah if that you say so…web 2.0 just a gimmick :(
    Cheers,

  • davidleeking

    Mat – a “gimmick” that has lasted for over 10 years now. I think there’s a little more to it than that.

  • davidleeking

    Mat – a “gimmick” that has lasted for over 10 years now. I think there’s a little more to it than that.