Interoperability is the key to success

I just read the We have lost control post by Reg Braithwaite that's been making the rounds of the blog-o-sphere. Basically, modern IT departments compete directly with the internet. We have to. It's the 21st century. That's because...

Our users are being exposed to applications we don’t control. And it messes things up.

It means that our end users have used the internet and if our programs don't measure up they know it. You can't hide it! They know! Braithwaite tells us this lovely story about working on a CRM for his mum:

For example, my Mother uses Skype to talk to her friends. She thinks it’s normal to see all of your voice mail messages in a list on the screen. If I tried to give her a CRM application for managing contacts, the very first question she would ask would be, “Why can’t I listen to all of the voice mails from that contact in the application?”

Do you think she would have patience for my explanation that the company’s phone systems are complex and proprietary and that we can’t install Asterix just for her? She would grab me by the ear and drag me to my desk to get cracking on it!

In other words if you ship a CRM today that can't interoperate with a phone system... or your phone system can't interoperate with a CRM... your in house CRM will not measure up to the internet based competition... Skype.

And is the user wrong to expect a Skype-like experience? Should the IT department tell them to go suck an egg? I don't think that will fly.

Long story short modern IT departments will have to provide in-house mash-ups of services to be able to provide an end user experience that can compete with the wild and wooly internet.

BTW: I now believe that the Grails Searchable Plugin will change my life. Even though I haven't used it yet. Because I can see how full text search wins and how that plugin can single handedly enable search for all my projects. Yes... the computing world is about to change... again. Hold on for the barrel roll.