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Book Review: IT’s Hidden Face

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IT’s hidden face: Everything you always wanted to know about Information Technology. A look behind the scenes
By Claude Roeltgen

Available at Amazon.com

The author sent me a copy of this book for me to review some time ago. I have read it twice now.

Over his long career the author, a CIO, has clearly learned many things about IT, and taken hard knocks along the way. In this book he sets out to describe, to a non-IT audience, why IT is so complicated and costly. He succeeds admirably. The book progresses logically and clearly with many anecdotes and personal stories to illustrate the points being made. The overall affect is compelling and comprehensive.

This is an excellent book for all C-level executives, and great for all MBA students. Given the C-Level audience the author might benefit from releasing a condensed version for those with limited time on their hands.

I have never been in IT myself, I have always been a developer/architect/CTO for software vendors. Mr Roeltgen clearly has a special disdain for software vendors, and I don’t blame him. I was fascinated and entertained to read about struggles with software and software vendors from an IT perspective.

At one point he talks about ‘cheatware’ – his term for demos by software vendors that include functionality that is fake or hard-wired for the purposes of the demo. The software vendors call this ‘demoware’, and it is still routinely used by proprietary software vendors.

The author likens the combined IT infrastructure, systems, and applications to an ecosystem or biotope. He stresses the point that no two companies have the exact same environment, and that most of the cost and complexity results from this situation.

Overall, it is an excellent book.

Written by James

May 13, 2010 at 5:18 pm

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