I was fortunate to attend the Tri-State CIO Forum these last couple of days, and I thought I’d change the pace a bit by posting some reflections about it.
In his keynote speech last night, George Colony, Chairman and CEO of Forrester Research, called on the business community to drop the name “information technology” (IT) in favor of “business technology” (BT). His reasoning, in a nutshell, was that such nomenclature would reflect the centrality of technology’s role for businesses.
Following similar reasoning but reaching a different conclusion, Julia King, an Executive Editor for Computerworld and one of of today’s speakers, noted that IT titles are being “techno-scrubbed”, and that there is a shift from managing technology to managing information.
While I can’t get excited about a naming debate, I do feel there’s an important point overlooked in this discussion. Even though we’ve achieved consensus on the importance of technology, we need a sharper focus on information. It is a cliché that we live in an information age, but expertise about information is scarce. Information scientists struggle to influence technology development, and information theory is mostly confined to areas like cryptography and compression.
We have no lack of information technology. Search engines, databases, and applications built on top of them are ubiquitous. But we still just learning how to work with information.