In the swanky central London offices of a leading law firm recently, at an event held by BABi, Stephen Leonard chief executive UK, Ireland IBM UK Ltd., reviewed the outcome of an IBM survey investigating whether technological complexity was an opportunity or a threat.

Perhaps not unexpectedly IBM and the views of its existing and prospective customers, comprising 1500 chief executives across 60 countries, supported the notion that existing complexity might be better harnessed with the introduction of additional layers of technology that ‘abstracted the complexity’ from the system.

Without wishing to reiterate the whole presentation – which was compelling – simply put, Stephen postulated that there are now more transistors on the planet than grains of rice. That the disparate systems that use these transistors – everything from CCTV, through traffic, transport, motor vehicle, GPS or smart mobile devices – are complex but disjointed and that by abstracting and integrating the useful information from these systems and combining them together mankind will enjoy a period of sustainable social, environmental and economic well being.

In the UK we’ve suffered a litany of high profile government IT projects either being delayed or going belly up or both placing the onus for overspent and waste on the tax payer.

Surely the answer is fewer systems that are better written, better connected and infinitely simpler rather than more? Whilst this might not be in the most immediate interest of generating short term revenue for Big Blue failure to grasp this will, I fear, find us playing second fiddle to third world countries that are already leap-frogging our old legacy systems – for example going straight to mobile versus fix line phones – challenging our technology thought and industry leadership and positioning the UK, Europe and the US as net importers of technology savvy.

Given the choice of a bowl of transistors or a bowl of rice which would you choose?


It is fair to say that the question is often raised: Why the pheasant?  And why naked? 

Well it is my belief that those who live in the world of making decisions about technology or even giving opinions on decision-making live a life that is best represented by the analogy of the pheasant’s existence;  be they CIO, CTO, analyst, social media guru or Marketing Director.  The crux is that all of these people essentially have to make decisions today about what is likely to be the need and best solution for the foreseeable future.    So they are all there to be shot at – especially given open season of a recession.  But it also goes beyond this shared vulnerability.  In the good times all of these birds were well fed,  indeed over fed, and this too has it’s down side: How do you keep all that ballast in the air come shooting season?

So if the pheasant explanation isn’t tenuous enough, here’s the Naked story.   The world of 2.0 is often characterized by its transparency yet I am not sure about transparency as a word.  Maybe it’s translucent?  However, Naked is my favoured descriptor.  Not just because of the implied vulnerability but also because of the common threat that, to me, seems to stalk all things social media-esque: The Emperor’s New Clothes.

However, if this is all too much post-rationalised posturing for you my final point is this.  Let it be said that as a group IT decision-makers are an eccentric bunch not unlike a flock of pheasants.  And what is more strange than a naked pheasant?