Fads and Technology Jargon

IT is full of jargon. Sometimes you may even catch yourself composing a sentence of almost entirely acronyms. “We need to examine our DR/BC plan to determine the RTO and RPO and then run that by the CIO and the COO. Then, let’s see if we need to continue to back up to AIT or DDS or NAS, factoring in the WAN vs the LAN and the VPN.” A lot of this jargon is driven by the hot topic or “fad of the day” in IT. While this lingo can make an IT person sound smart, does it serve an end goal?

Some time ago (we won’t say how long!), we were all ooh-ing and ahh-ing about relational databases, but no one gets excited about those terms any more because they have become an every day term. There was also a time when everyone wanted a LAN (Local Area Network), but now that has become so outmoded that I probably shouldn’t even mention it. Then, everyone started talking about Client/Server. After that, e-government became popular. Now cloud computing, shared services and mobility are all the rage. Will we still talk about these in a few years? If we do, they’ll have evolved from fads to trends, and they’ll stay with us for a while. If not, they’ll fade away like many IT fads before them, and we’ll be on to the next hot IT fad.

Right now, everyone is talking about cloud computing, but those of us familiar with mainframe environments know that we’ve been doing “cloud computing” for many years. Isn’t really shared services that we’re bringing back under a different name? We hope to realize greater efficiency through it, but we’re also concerned about its security. Can one outweigh the other? If we’re able to overcome the concerns, cloud computing may evolve into a stickier, long-lasting trend.

Instead of focusing on the next exciting fad, we should be thinking about what topics are going to stay with us for a while. One of these is customer service. We have e-government because we want to do a better job at customer service. We want to provide a counter over the web as well as having a physical counter. No matter what line of service we’re in, or what point in time it is, customer service is not a fad and it is not something that’s going away any time soon.

IT fads aren’t a bad thing. They come and they go. What’s important is to remember that they are not the end goal. They’re tools that help us achieve those goals that are timeless and will always have room for improvement, like customer service and efficiency. There will always be new jargons that continue to pop up, but by keeping our real goals in mind, we can capitalize on IT fads and improve our trade where it really matters: Results.


About Davood Ghods

Davood Ghods has served in executive public and private sector IT positions for almost 30 years, including 23 years with the State of California. In 2006 he was appointed the Agency Information Officer at the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Before that, he was the CIO at the California Department of Consumer Affairs. He has also served as the Deputy Director, PMO Chief, and other positions at Teale Data Center (now the Office of Technology Services). Davood is currently the Director of Information Technology Services for a private sector consulting firm.
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6 Responses

  1. avatar

    Davood is so right.

    Everything around us changes constantly but we in IT must always keep our real goals in mind. Otherwise, there will be more project failures wasting millions of Taxpayers’ money

  2. avatar

    Davood, Great article! You gently remind us of the wisdom hidden in plain sight. Little matters if we have no customers, and lack clarity. Change is great; thanks for helping us remember why we exist! Green Verbs!

  3. avatar

    Nice reminder Davood. It is all about providing the best services to our customers. Sometimes new technologies can be used to solve old problems, but the rebranding of old ideas with new names often confuses customers.

  4. avatar

    Well said Davood.

  5. avatar

    Davood on the money once again! The Fads and Jargon’s originated from the Y2K days. The periodicals and journals began publishing this jargon for months if not years before the uneventful January 1, 2000 date. After this the publishers had to latch on to the next topic of the times to catch the readers interest.
    Great points on customer service, this is lost in times when we IT’ers focus too much on automation.

  6. avatar

    Excellent article Davood. Very well written and the point is one that we should all remember.