Keeping up with the changing face of IT is a pain in the arse at times. Half the time I'm looking at some bleeding edge technology wondering what the hell it does, who would want it and whether it's worth the effort. All too often the answers are "No idea", "no one" and "no".
Still, it grates a bit when a consultant is called in because some beancounter, board member or auditor wants to be super sure that we're making the absolute most out of our IT investment whilst also ensuring that we're keeping a weather eye out for future trends.
"It's no slur on you professionally," the Boss says as we traipse along to a meeting with our new consultant. "It's just the company wants to be sure that we're able to meet the future needs of our clients AND that we're not spending money unnecessarily."
"Like money on expensive consultants?" I ask.
"So we'll meet with him and outline what we're doing?" the PFY asks, moving on.
"Meet with HER, outline where we are, where we want to be, the technologies we use, the technologies we don't and also the technologies that we aspire to use into the future."
"Here, the pub, my iPad Mini, most Android tablets and a TARDIS," the PFY says, "so I can go back in time and execute Simon Cowell."
"I mean technology for improving the workplace," the Boss chips back.
"It would be an improvement!"
"Uh... I think we should go in now," the Boss says, reaching for a door handle.
We dutifully enter and are met by a woman whose outfit makes our dress-code appear "third world casual".
"Gina Barker - Lightfoot, Barker & Ellice" she says, extending a hand.
We introduce ourselves and I pass the time during the initial questions about Corporate Vision, Client Base, Aspirations for the future, etc. by updating the Boss's Facebook profile which he was foolish enough to use an old password on.
I'm just updating his relationship status to "It's complicated by my gender reassignment surgery and my burning passion for cast iron garden furniture" when the topic of "IT technologies and their effect on brand recognition and the adoption of client loyalty" comes up.
"I'm glad you brought that up" I counter, buying myself a little time to think of some answer to whatever the hell it was the Gina was asking. I decide to tentatively grope at Gina's technical knowledge to see whether she's the real deal or a just a posh suit with a wardrobe full of school chum references...
"Ideally I feel the company's direction is shaped by the desires of our client base and yet we've really not done any in-depth work - as a discovery exercise - on what THEY will be looking for from US. Whilst we have some idea about what attracted them to the company in the first place, it's difficult to know whether the technology adoption we've currently got in play is tailored to their future needs without some form of rigorous investigative process. Otherwise, REALLY, we're leading a horse to water before we shoot it in the head."
If anyone can make anything out of that load of swill they've got my vote.