Business Relationship Management for the Digital Enterprise


chapter 1. the shifting it landscape


This chapter frames the context for the book and reviews the evolution of Computing Platforms over the last 50 years and how approaches to managing IT have responded to these changes. 

Over my career in IT, from 1970 to 2019, seismic changes have taken place in technology and IT management. Starting in the 1960s, the evolution in electronic building blocks led to a hardware evolution from central mainframes to distributed computing, client-server, and to web-based architectures.  Software evolved to keep pace, shifting from custom coding to application packages, fourth generation languages, application generators and to web-based services. There’s been a consistent shift in focus from hardware to software and ultimately to services.  IT management has evolved in response to these hardware and software changes. The graphic above highlights these changes 

The electronic brains of computing has evolved from electro-mechanical relays (yes, I actually worked on these in my first job!) to vacuum tubes (valves) to transistors, to integrated circuits and to large scale integration.

The pace of innovation and change was brought home to me as I experienced how industry was moving to new technologies more quickly than academic education was able to cover them. I was being taught at university about vacuum tubes and transistors at the same time I was working with integrated circuits in my internship.

Chapter 1 reviews how each stage of computing has impacted the disciplines of IT management.

A CIO in denial!

The launch of the IBM PC in 1981 turned the computing world upside down. 

I remember in 1982 asking a chief information officer (CIO) how he was responding to the influx of personal computers.  He looked at me like I was crazy and said, “Personal Computers are for home use. They have no place in the corporate environment. We don’t allow them to be used here.”

I invited him to walk with me down a couple of corridors near his headquarters corner office and let him see for himself what I had seen earlier in the day: personal computers on many desks throughout the corporate campus!