By Richard Ennals
Recent and well-publicised failures have highlighted the truth that companies of all types - from healthcare to aerospace - are seriously depending on details know-how platforms. The prevention of catastrophic I.T. failure is now a necessary a part of administration.
In this thought-provoking advisor for executives and executives Richard Ennals argues that the serious issue isn't know-how, yet humans and communication.
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Extra resources for Executive Guide to Preventing Information Technology Disasters
Where freedom of information and critical comment is curtailed, purportedly for security purposes against an external threat, internal security is weakened. When an individual detects problems, he may be prevented from taking appropriate remedial action. Secure systems may carry within them the means of their own undoing: it may not be permissible to discuss or deal with problems, and the official policy may be to continue as if all was well. Secrecy impairs the quality of dialogue, as it restricts the freedom of question, answer and explanation.
DOCUMENTATION Documentation may be missing, incomplete or misleading. Typically, it will have been left until last by the technically oriented system developer, and not written with the users of the system in mind. Developers rarely use the tools they produce, and may have little insight into the needs and culture of eventual users. User involvement and participation has been the exception rather than the rule, and documentation may not have been subjected to user testing. LAW Ignorance of the law can lead to disaster.
Tacit knowledge and shared beliefs are crucial if individuals are to be appropriately empowered. How 10 Cause IT Disaslers In the business context, IT disasters do not simply concern technology. They derive from a basis of both business and technology, and have consequences for both. Disasters can be the means whereby dialogue begins, and phoenixes have been known to rise from ashes; however, IT disasters can be terminal for the organisation concerned. " (p. ix) Data processing is seen as an activity at a lower level than human wisdom: II Computers process data; systems convert data into information; users ofsystems transform information into knowledge.