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Boiling The IT Frog

Aug. 22, 2007
Book by Harwell Thrasher is an attempt to bridge the communication gap between the business and information technology communities

Author Harwell Thrasher starts his book, Boiling The IT Frog, out with a quote from Arthur C. Clarke: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

The point he is making is that, although having the status of wizards makes information technology (IT) people feel important and useful, such "magical thinking" is actually a major cause of inefficiency in the business world as it strains communications and fosters a lack of common sense where the needs and capabilities of technology are concerned.

A representative quote: "Technology -- and in particular Information Technology -- is a lot like the Wizard of Oz. It's impressive, it seems to work miracles, but in the end it's just a bunch of gadgets being controlled by some people just like you and me. Those people can be friendly and helpful, but only if you learn the "secrets" that keep us from understanding what Information Technology (IT) is all about."

Over the course of less than 200 pages, Thrasher -- an MIT grad who was an IT developer/manager of MRP systems for Digital Equipment Corp.'s 29 worldwide manufacturing before going on to conduct IT due diligence and integration efforts for Ceridian -- delivers 44 of these secrets, in common-sense language tailored toward the non-techie.

According to Thrasher, "I've always believed that IT is more about people than about technology, and that most IT problems come from misunderstandings between business and technology people. Wouldn't it be great if there was a book that IT people could give to their business customers to help explain the issues faced by IT organizations? I've always thought so, but I couldn't find such a book, so I wrote one myself."

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