Once upon a time – of all good days in the year, on Christmas Eve – Henrietta Scrooge, the finance director of Acme Enterprises, sat busy in the accounts department, her face illuminated by the light of an old CRT…
A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol has lessons for all who lack a generous attitude towards IT.
Once upon a time – of all good days in the year, on Christmas Eve – Henrietta Scrooge, the finance director of Acme Enterprises, sat busy in the accounts department, her face illuminated by the light of an old CRT.
A passing clerk waved goodnight. “Merry Christmas!” he said.
“Bah!” said Miss Scrooge. “Humbug.” For, like all finance directors, Henrietta Scrooge had a heart as cold as a toad’s belly.
Eventually, Miss Scrooge went home where she sat reading up on corporate governance and made notes on the dangers of giving staff email and internet access. It was midnight when she looked up and saw with surprise the mournful face of Charley Marley, her former IT director who had been made redundant years before, following a strategic rightsizing exercise.
“What drear apparition is this?” said Miss Scrooge.
“You will be haunted by Three Spirits,” said Marley’s ghost.
At the striking of the clock, appeared the first of these.
“I am the Ghost of Christmas Past,” said this vision, taking Miss Scrooge by the arm and transporting her to the day in 1985 when she joined Acme.
“Bloody IT,” said this younger Scrooge. “Mainframe maintenance costs a fortune and now they want PCs. It’s just a craze!”
“Ah, I was wrong though,” said Miss Scrooge. “Without the PC I would not have had dear Excel and where would Acme be now? Working on ledger sheets?”
Miss Scrooge slept again but was awakened by a second spirit who gathered up the cold FD. “Who are you and where have you brought me?” asked Miss Scrooge.
“I am the Ghost of Christmas Present and this is your datacentre,” said this ghoul.
“Ah yes,” said Miss Scrooge, “and isn’t that Bob Patchit, our IT director. What is that foolish man doing here in the middle of the night?”
“He is here because you outsourced everything to save costs and now he must work all hours to meet the service levels you set,” boomed the wraith-like vision.
“Well, IT is a waste of money,” said Miss Scrooge. “We found that out with our dot-com site and our Y2K project.”
Immediately, this bitter biddy was swept away by a third spirit. “Where am I?” asked Miss Scrooge. “And what is this empty space?”
“I am the Ghost of Christmas Future and this is where Acme once stood,” said this third and most dismal host. “You end-of-lifed the New Projects team and an online company overtook you.”
“Alack!” wailed Miss Scrooge. “I never invested in key performance indicators and now I have been disintermediated!”
At this, Miss Scrooge awoke and saw with relief that change management and IT investment was still possible. She raced to Acme’s datacentre. “Bob Patchit!” she shouted.
“Oh, Miss Scrooge,” said Patchit, who had worked tirelessly to make his old NT server secure. “Are you angry with me again?”
“Indeed no,” said Miss Scrooge. “I have learnt my lesson. In future I will invest in IT because it remains our best hope of competitive differentiation! Come, there is great work to be done in virtualisation, multi-core chips, grids and web services. Not to mention flexible working!”
At which Tiny Tim, the Oracle DBA, emerged from behind an old VAX and cheered, “God Bless Us, Every One!”