Be afraid, very afraid, of the Nexus
The Gartner Symposium's war talk seems to be setting the stage for another round of supercrooks. By Lloyd Gedye.
Depending on who you are, the Nexus is either a villainous professional wrestling team or the framework from which to view the future of IT.
According to Wikipedia, the most popular online result for a Google search on the word “nexus” is the wrestling team’s catch phrase, “you are either Nexus or you’re against us”.
This was also appropriate for the Gartner Symposium at the Cape Town International Convention Centre last week, where the message was being driven home was: “You need us to be the leader that you can be.”
Instead of spandex, masks and laced-up boots, the business warriors were in distressed beige pants and collared shirts.
The analyst firm hosts the symposium every year. It afford IT professionals the opportunity to hear presentations on trends and strategies for the future. Delegates each paid R20 000 to get into the room with Gartner’s top analysts.
According to Gartner, the “Nexus” is the tornado of forces circling the industry, shaping how we “do” IT and, by extension, how we do business.
This is not rocket science. The four main forces affecting IT globally are social media, the quest for mobility, the move to storing data in the cloud, and the trend towards using big data to improve your business. What is new is this catch-all term, the “Nexus”, which is Gartner’s sales pitch.
The stage-managed show created a picture of a perfect storm disrupting the sector.
Gartner senior vice-president Peter Sondergaard took up the rallying call, pacing the stage, gesticulating to reinforce his points, his performance almost evangelical.
“Today’s IT professionals are shaping how business works and the global economy is shaped. Rise up and be leaders. IT professionals are changing the world. You can’t say that about accountants.
“Sorry, that was rude, I meant lawyers,” Sondergaard continued.
The auditorium chuckled, breaking the tension.
I was relieved as I had had a vision of geeks stripping out of their corporate wear, exposing a spandex outfit with cape and tool belt, and going forth to conquer the world of technology and servers.
“What a load of crap,” a senior IT journalist said. “They’ve been talking about this stuff for the last few years; now they’ve just come up with a name for the whole thing, the Nexus.”
A Cape Town municipality employee next to me said he found the presentation a complete waste of time.
“I’m allergic to a hard sell,” said another delegate, overhearing our conversation.
Over lunch, an SA Revenue Service employee expressed concern that delegates paid R20 000 when the information they received was not new. “There has been nothing concrete I can implement,” he said, before complaining about lunch being served without tables to sit at. “This whole thing is geared towards making you a Gartner client.”
Another presentation was titled “Machiavellian CIO 3.0: Love and War”. Gartner analyst Tina Nunno delivered the presentation, which was based on the Italian philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli’s strategies of war and attempted to teach delegates how to implement them in business.
“CIOs regularly encounter warfare but often are not well prepared for it,” said Nunno. “Would you rather be the invader or the invaded?”
All this talk of war and battle took me back to visions of IT superheroes, except it was a lot more menacing and I imagined getting clubbed on the back of the head with a keyboard.
“It is better to subdue an enemy by famine, rather than by the sword,” quoted Nunno.
“Tell that to Telkom,” I thought. The Competition Tribunal’s recent decision to fine the company R449m proved it had tried to starve its clients out of business.
“Use deception to get what you want done,” said Nunno.
Again, I thought, the SA IT sector is way ahead of Nunno.
The language was unsettling and I wonder what effect this symposium will have on our IT sector.
Are we producing the IT superheroes of the future or are we producing more villains like those of the past — the ones who have hampered broadband penetration, kept mobile prices high and cost SA thousands of jobs over the past decades? — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media