I was involved in an interesting discussion at Mike Schaffner's blog on the best name to call our industry, which is now mainly called as the IT industry. The discussion was around whether it should be called as IT (Information Technology), ICT (Information and Communications Technology) or BT (Business Technology).
The comments I made at this discussion showcase my opinion on this matter, so I’m directly publishing them here.
"There are some valid arguments to call it as BT. But, I think what we really provide is the technologies to process and communicate information. There is layer above that which really operates the business and they are responsible for business operations whereas we are responsible of managing the technology for information that lies behind that. So, we are really more toward I than B. So, IT is more suitable.
Everyone today understands that IT is the lifeblood of any business. SO, we really don’t have to fuss about renaming it to get any added recognition.
Posted by: Yasas Yasas Jun 10, 2007 10:25:14 PM
The key valid argument to call this industry as BT is due to the fact that it provides the soft technologies to run businesses. But what about hardware such as machineries? They are also technologies, I would call them as hard technologies (if you don’t mind) and they also provide support for the business. So, then there could be an argument to call them as Business Technologies (BT) as well.
Then in the next comment, I explained further about the recognition for our work within the business environment.
I personally think we have got the due recognition or at least we are in the midst of getting that recognition.
As a BA/Consultant, I continuously talk to business and business system users and I clearly see an increase in confidence in us than it was ever before. They see us as ultimate helpers of business even though most of them have had some bad experience with regard to IT, unfortunately. Yes, they know the business operations better than us, but can they operate without us providing them with best technology solutions? Definitely Not.
Refer to the 'Productivity Growth' section of the following text on Aussie IT industry by Australian Information Industry Association.
Quote from http://www.aiia.com.au/i-cms.isp?page=909
"According to a government report released in March 2006, the ICT industry contributed to some 85% of productivity growth in the manufacturing sector and up to 78% in the services sector in the last two decades."
So, we are getting the recognition, may be it’s not up to the level that we would like it to be, but it’s on the increase. One thing that’s important for technology is to keep the momentum going on this increase in recognition is to be Business focused and run by business rather than IT. Business driven projects are much more successful than IT driven projects.
While we are having this discussion on IT and BT, there is another discussion on IT Vs. ICT. The ACS, of which I am also an active member, promotes ICT as oppose to IT. We introduce ourselves, as "The Australian Computer Society (ACS) is the recognised association for Information & Communications Technology (ICT) professionals". This is why in my previous comment I explained what we do as 'technologies to process and communicate information'. Communication plays a major part in IT, therefore in the bigger scheme of things, it should be included in the naming. Without that C component, IT won't work. Today we are taking steps to promote this component of IT as never before and this identification shows the change of scope and focus in our industry because a national organization which initially started for Computers, then moved to IT, and now to ICT. At this stage, given all my reasonings, I don’t think we should move towards BT.
Posted by: Yasas Yasas Jun 11, 2007 9:56:47 PM
The British Computer Society (BCS) still hasn’t identified the Communications component that significantly within the industry. However, most countries today have identified this component, but as an industry, it hasn’t come to a unified naming standard.
In my opinion, it’s not mandatory to have such a universal agreement on the name as long as the concepts are accepted and the industry focus is aligned accordingly.
If you are interested, you can visit the following location to see the whole discussion and the necessary references.