The office is a relic of the past

The office is a relic of the past

By now most businesses and other organizations will have woken up to a, for many of them, new reality. The reality that the office is a relic of the past. Not completely and in all situations, but for many people, use cases and industries. The writing has been on the wall for quite a while, that is for sure. But now it is being driven home remorselessly. Corona and Covid-19 are just messengers.

If you make your living selling office spaces this is bad news and you are likely to disagree with a vengeance. Join the club of transport and other companies. Change can hurt when you are at the receiving end. Relics or not, offices still have their use, but their dominance is over and it has been for a while.

Corona & Covid-19

At the time of writing, it’s been about 6 months since, all over the globe, we went to a “work from home as much as possible” approach. This in order to deal with the impact of Corona and Covid-19. While we are all telecommuting, our businesses are still running and they function just fine. Better than if we would require everyone to be in harm’s way during a global pandemic, That should make everyone think.

Some say this is only possible due to technical advances in the past 5 years. I think they mean Teams and Zoom. But in reality, it has been possible for well over a decade. At least where I had a say in the infrastructure.

The office is a relic of the past
Office buildings – Photo by Yair Mejía on Unsplash

Working from home has its challenges for sure. Things can be better technically for some of us. But hey considering this was all done under the pressure of Covid-19 and despite some managers, it’s not too bad. For many, the home office can use a second screen and or better chair. People with kids, who are caretakers of elderly dependents, etc. will have some extra challenges. Quite often the home office could also with a makeover and some improvements to handle hot or cold weather better and to make permanent telecommuting more comfortable.

Some telecommuters have been ready for while. Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

The mere fact that some work at the dinner table demonstrates the need for a home office in the first place. Blame short term thinking and acting as if nothing ever changes for this when it comes to housing and public domain planning. But all that does not distract from the fact that businesses keep running during the pandemic. As a matter of fact, they are running well.

Business as usual

Many of my buddies in IT and I have been working from home part-time or full time for well over a decade. We did not miss a beat. Bar the pandemic specific unpleasantries it was almost business as usual for us. Lucky we.

My home office and lab is very well equipped. At my own expense. I value telecommuting and it shows. Actually, the topic comes up every now and then amongst us to just pack up and live wherever you want while working. Life is short and it might be over before you ever retire. So make the most of it.

The office is a relic of the past
photo by Clint Patterson on Unsplash

The one thing to avoid is that working from home turns into living at work. That’s when you have lost balance. However, that is no excuse to haul half of the population back and forth to offices every day.

Business is about money

As businesses and other organizations come to terms with that new reality they also have to face another fact. The fact that the total cost to keep someone at a desk in a building (rent, power, heating, security, insurance, regulations, catering, …) is high. In many cases too high. And as the workforce has been working from home for almost 6 months now they should be questioning why and to what purpose that money is spent.

If you excel at dynamic operational management you should already be making plans and reducing your costs by reducing office space, if not downright abandoning it. Even if organizations need to spend 150$ or more per month per employee on home office expenses they will still come out ahead. And not just the businesses, also society as a whole as well as the individuals involved. The tools, the technology we need exists and are only getting better. Regulations might need to catch up, but again, that is no reason to keep offices around.

Win-Win?

While some employees struggle with 100% telecommuting, especially combined with the stress induced by a global pandemic, many have woken up to the many benefits as well. They realize they can reduce commuting costs (gas, public transport), dry cleaning, work attire, commute time, etc… Next to that, they, if are not too challenged by the pandemic’s extra burdens, might very well notice they can get their work one more productively and undisturbed compared to when in the office merry go around. This can lead to a better work-life balance and time regained.

More than ever before, people will demand to work from home. Governments and business planning for the next crisis will want this to succeed as well to soften the impact and smoothen the experience of a pandemic or other disaster. All that while saving money and reducing congestion. What’s not to like? The number of work from home job adds has risen with 300%. Smart businesses are leveraging work from home to attract top talent. Others are losing talent over it. Think about that.

Make no mistake, the moment you become more productive businesses will try and recuperate that time for their own profit and out need. No need to be naïve here. The race to stay competitive will push them to do so, that, along with greed. Let’s face it, most innovations that offer benefits to the average person soon become revenue or cost avoidance streams for others. Look at solar panels and smart meters. Right now they are being used to protect revenue streams of providers and favor higher consumption. By the same reasoning, we might have to pay for the empty office buildings. The risk of an entrepreneur is often socialized while the profits are private. In those cases, you don’t hear them complain about entitlement.

Time for managers to lead by example

Managers will have to step up. They need to learn how to really hire and lead talented people. That is a different ball game than just collecting employees into open office spaces and having them run around to meetings all day long. It is as if the entire technical evolution of the past 25 years has passed management by when you see how often this is still the reality for many of us. So maybe it is not just offices that are a relic of the past.

Let’s get the obvious remark about jobs that require a physical presence off the table. Yes, they exist, there are many of those. Those people can also benefit from the mere fact that the rest of us are not moving around like zombies every morning and evening without any good reason. Especially since working at an office has at best very little, likely no positive and quite possibly a negative impact on getting the job done.

Backpressure is inevitable

The incumbents, comfortable in the predictability of the status quo, will always challenge change. They only like change when others “that are stuck in their ways” have to deal with it or when it benefits them significantly. In any other situation, they will fake change when required, but that’s about it.

When you are in the business of facility management the idea that the office is a relic of the past will cause some disconcert. No matter how you translate or communicate that message, the consequence is that the facility business is about to shrink significantly. And with that comes the loss of power, money, and prestige.

Reducing or abandoning offices all to getter happens for good reasons, actually. Office space is very expensive and not that efficient let alone effective as many assume. Offices tend to lead to wasted time, groupthink and can be distractive to the point it diminishes productivity.

The office is a relic of the past
They might as well be at home, safe the 2-hour commute and all associated costs. Photo by Antonio Janeski on Unsplash

Many will be tempted to fill those offices again as soon as possible. Why? Because they own real estate or have investments in sales and leaseback or even pure long term leases. They’d rather throw good money after sunk costs to avoid looking like they should have rethought the entire office n the 21st-century thing a bit earlier. A few decades earlier even. But instead, they have been running after the “latest” office fashions like cubicles, open office plans. Often a decade too late, when the fad had been debunked a 100th times already. All this while technological progress was showing us all the way forward.

You will see lobbying and fear mongering to get people back into offices and some politicians will fall for it. But work and offices are no longer as connected as they use to be. As long as the money flows into their pockets they will not call something a waste. Despite the costs to others and the environment.

I am an IT professional who is active in the global community. The majority of interactions and collaboration happens online, across time zones even. We work, learn, collaborate remotely together. Consequently I can only shake my head at so much institutionalized inertia.

Offices were devised many centuries ago out of necessity

Offices were devised in an era that administration and bureaucracy and complexity with global operations were growing. Meeting the needs to address all that required the office to be invented. Read https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-23372401. Even back then many employees experienced unhappy and unsatisfied excuses for “careers” in those offices. So yes offices can go away or be reduced significantly. That is okay. The same happened with cowboy bunkhouses, factory housing, horse and carriage as well as steam engines, and now even combustion engines.

The need for offices has diminished significantly by now. Many are remnants of a bygone era. When not strictly needed, they exist to keep a market alive and prevent real change hat would upset the powers that be. Blame, or rather thank information technology.

Some offices are needed, many are not

I am sure offices will be adapted to be more corona (pandemic) proof, and while needed, it does not make office life more enjoyable. People will be hesitant to return to dense landscape offices and overcrowded meeting rooms that are used by another bunch of people every hour or half-hour. The commute, the distractions, the cost will all be balanced against the benefits. Offices will lose that comparison. Sure when people really need a job, they might put up with having to go to an office, but that is not a choice. Given a choice, well over half of the employees will prefer to telecommute at least part-time.

The office is a relic of the past
Traffic jams mean stress, lost time, lost money and pollution. Photo by Larry James Baylas on Unsplash

If a job requires you to be in an office and you cannot find candidates it means that what you offer is just not good enough and the need to be there is not very convincing. Why would I put up with landscape offices that cause me stress, reduce my productivity as they kill my ability to concentrate? On top of this, to add insult to injury it makes lose time in stressful commutes, money on travel, etc. To make it even worse it wrecks my ability to balance that with the needs of children or elderly under my care and makes shopping race against the clock.

Commuting adds to traffic congestion, pollution, and stress. So when the jobs are equal, as most are, with only a minor variance in pay, why would I choose a job that imposes all that on me over one that doesn’t? What is in it for me and your company? Catering to failed leadership in the face of clear and present alternatives?

The office is a relic of the past
The joys of commuting. Photo by bantersnaps on Unsplash

I will no take jobs that require my presence in the office full time unless I absolutely had to. So while many complain about not finding talent and secretly hope a bit more unemployment would make finding candidates easier maybe they should address their own issues.

Forcing people back to the office

Why would you want to do that? Because you have the office and want an excuse for the expense? It won’t make for happy employees. You don’t care? Well, that tells employees all they need to know about you. They will resent you for it and will disengage or disconnect. They might stay but you might have destroyed any engagement they had left with the organization.

Many people I know will not ever again take a job that forces them back into the office every day. Not if they have a say in it and the circumstances allow for it. And even when you get that talent back into the office for some reason, they will leave as soon as they can. Any illusion of employee retention will be out of the window. Even when they stay, when they have no other choice, they will be less engaged. Force and threats are ill-advised management techniques. It won’t help you in the long run.

But people need supervision

Do you think they need supervision? Maybe if you are a kindergarten teacher. If that is not the case, did you hire the correct people? Do you really think they need that to be more productive?

Modern offices are often not about productivity but about cost optimization. Landscape offices and other nonsense have destroyed more productivity and killed more interpersonal collaboration that it ever created. they exist to reduce costs while catering to lazy and easy management. Make sure everyone is at their desk or in a meeting room. Attendance qualifies as output, maybe even as an outcome. Horrible! Presentism is dead. It was and has always been a retarded business practice.

Keep offices where and when they make sense. Be bold and brave when it comes to moving away from them in other cases. Position yourself for the best possible outcome for your workforce and your business. Also, don’t forget that offices tend to be in cities. Cities are costly places to live and real estate is small and expensive. Being there and working from home during a pandemic is not all that fun. Especially since all the benefits of a city are missing with pandemic measures in place. I know many have dreams of ideal cities that have wonderful living conditions for everyone but which should help us cope with energy consumption, loss of open space, and reduce global warming. But you cannot live in dreams. Cities also don’t address the real issue of too many people on too small a planet that has become a village.

But people are social animals

Yes, and they can have more time to socialize at lower stress levels when telecommuting. They can work and collaborate with colleagues within and outside of the company in a coffee shop or meetup space once in a while. The professional development is often limited by corporate office borders. There is so much to learn from collaborating with others.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

They can attend conferences and community events, they can make it to user groups on time since they don’t commute as often, … there are so many other opportunities to socialize and be productive outside of the office. I would not be the professional I am today if I had stuck to the office as a place to socialize, work, and learn.

Really, we can keep going. But I see a lot more excuses than I do genuine reasons trying to dispel that the office is a relic of the past.

Use the pandemic as a learning opportunity

No, I am not just talking about self-study in some of the time freed up by not having to commute.

If you are only interested in maintaining the status quo in order to avoid losing power and budgets you are delaying the inevitable while costing your company dearly. You are throwing good money away whilst missing opportunities and losing talent. The latter both in recruitment as well as in turn over. Many companies will make that mistake. Governments as well. I can already notice the discussions about the financial impact on public travel and the need to get commuters on board again. Despite congestion, pollution, time lost … all to keep an old economic reality going.

Last but not least you are proving yourself a hypocrite. Harsh, but true. All the babbling about “the only constant is change” to your employee over the past decade goes out of the window the moment it disrupts your comfort zone and challenges you to reinvent your self.

The office is a relic of the past
Offices – Photo by Patrick Robert Doyle on Unsplash

Really reinvent yourself. You can no longer pretend change is moving from Skype to Teams, from VPN to VDI, or from PIN to contactless payments. Those are technical evolutions. Just like a new office building might be more energy-efficient or comfortable it is not a huge change over the older one. Changing how you do organize your workspace and workforce will require a real effort and change, also from you.

The fact that some managers need to physically have their employees in an office and meeting rooms is worrisome. It is very limiting and comes at a high cost. Sure actual problem is not the manager? It takes real skills to keep people moving in the right way effectively and efficiently. Office spaces are just one piece of a sideshow prohibiting real progress. It reminds me of measuring output instead of outcomes. Honestly, the office is just one more example of the many blunt instruments in our professional lives that stand little chance of making a real difference.

Conclusion

To conclude, is my statement that the office is a relic of the past correct? Well yes. Not for the full one-hundred percent of use cases but office space can be reduced significantly and the remainder can be leveraged in a modern, flexible way to your advantage.

Managers, get out of your comfort zone. Wake up and smell the coffee. Surely, you are not going to wait for the next pandemic to close the office for you, and for good at that time, are you? The office is a relic of the past, in many aspects. If you want to save it for what it is good for, you’ll need to get rid of the rest.

Disagree all you want but at least think and discuss this beyond the comfort of a status quo and routine. Think.

Innovation As A Service

Disclaimer: The Dilbert® Life series is a string of post on corporate culture from hell and dysfunctional organizations running wild. This can be quite shocking and sobering. A sense of humor will help when reading this. If you need to live in a sugar coated world were all is well and bliss and think all you do is close to godliness, stop reading right now and forget about the blog entries. It’s going to be dark. Pitch black at times actually, with a twist of humor, if you can laugh at yourself.

Innovation As A Service for sale

Innovation! Get your fresh, real innovation right here ladies and gentlemen! Buy 3 innovations and pay only two! That’s right, the economies of scale at your fingertips. Get your innovation right here and now at pennies to the dollar!

You cannot buy innovation as a service. Maybe that’s why this website is painfully accurate. There is no such thing.

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Results and success don’t come as the outcome of a process you can buy and follow. Creating some incubators, handing out some funds or price money isn’t going to help you innovate one bit.

This is especially true when you’re an organization that hasn’t got a culture to stimulate it. Not because culture will always determinate an outcome but because if your culture doesn’t evolve to enable what you need it probably isn’t a cause but a result. The result of lacking a real strategy.

When you’re not a small, agile, talent and motivation driven company it’s hard to become one by acquiring the resources (ideas, talent, motivation, products) you need. Many try but fail. Some succeed but even then it’s a time limited success. Innovation is an ongoing activity. Success is a temporary result. It’s not a long term, well defined and understood process or product. If it was it wouldn’t be innovative.

When you’re you need to optimize your processes or replace them if they can be optimized.

The organizational paradox

Innovation, or any “hot” item in business is like sex. The more people talk about it and want it the less it’s going to happen. This is frustrating too many so they try to facilitate or force some success. This leads to disappointing, second rate, clumsy and poor experiences compared to what it’s supposed to be.

As production, distribution and services are being disrupted by automation or even automatic / autonomous technology we see that profits come under stress. That means more with less, reduction of the work force & optimizing processes to reduce cost & optimize profits. This leads to more and more commodity driven businesses and organizations that are trying to compete on cost. - Dilbert by Scott Adams

A magic word has appeared that’s supposed to deliver a prosperous future for all of us. All this while we save ourselves into poverty and reduce our value into nothing more than 1 or 2 % better efficiencies than any other organizations at delivering commodities. If you don’t have a factual (Energy, “to big to fail” banking, …) or legal (notaries, IRS, …) monopoly you have very little margin as an excuse for your existence. So now we all have to be innovative. Never mind that you’re in the least innovative business on earth. Innovation it is as everyone is doing it, has or wants it. So must we or we’re clearly “out of touch”.

Get in the ring!

Pretending to be a boxer is lots of fun until you have to get into the ring and fight. When you step into the ring and your opponent smacks you in the face even your best plans fall apart. Let alone that sorry excuses of a plan you have in lieu of training, skills and motivation.

It’s very hard for established, highly regulated companies to really innovate. They’re about avoiding risks, optimizing processes & following procedures. The aim is to get the best predictable results with the fewest cost & overhead as long as this doesn’t endanger the processes and regulations. It just isn’t compatible with agility and innovation.

Now some large organizations can deal with this and make it a success.  It requires truly great strategies, strategists and some serious skills to make them materialize. Not a small feat to pull off! But way to many can’t. Nothing has eternal live. It’s even worse when such organizations make their innovation islands or incubators dependent on centralized, slow moving, process driven services & processes. That’s like swimming with an anvil tied around your ankle. Good luck!

DilbertInnovation

Let small organizations exist. Give them the freedom and independency they need to function. This entire mindset of centralized large entities that are driven by economies of scale with a giant focus (or at least the pretense of that) on efficiency of what already exists is mind numbing to most of us. Let alone to the best and brightest. It only “rewards” the accountant mindset. Trying to fix this with “pockets” of innovation and agility is like a reservation. It keeps a species alive artificially but it doesn’t make that species have a future and be all it can be to fulfill its potential It rewards opportunists who claim to be pioneers. Those that want the benefits and rewards that comes with that status without having to do the hard work. It’s lip service, smoke and mirrors.

The fallacy of bimodal IT in this regard is that a schizophrenic organization, with only two opposite extremes, is supposed to transition the fruits between those two “just like that”. The entire process, the evolution required and the gradual cultural shifts to bring the results of agility and innovation to the process driven highly regulated side of the business is never ever discussed or mentioned.

That “integration” is supposed to happen naturally & apparently without issues or effort. That’s a very hard order to fill It’s as if you can zip up the files of your project and e-mail them to the regulated part of the business and that’s all what’s needed. At best they’ll give you SharePoint Online and claim they’ve dealt with that issue as they don’t use attachments anymore. And no, a “Chief Integration Officer” is not going to help. But I’m sure you’ll find plenty of candidates to fill that function when you attach a higher pay grade to it. But just like innovation we’ll see the call for “bimodal” it along with many practitioners, consultants and coaches selling it. The successes will be rare and hard to find.

Barnacles, strategists, consultants and coaches at the office

Disclaimer: The Dilbert® Life series is a string of post on corporate culture from hell and dysfunctional organizations running wild. This can be quite shocking and sobering. A sense of humor will help when reading this. If you need to live in a sugar coated world were all is well and bliss and think all you do is close to godliness, stop reading right now and forget about the blog entries. It’s going to be dark. Pitch black at times actually, with a twist of humor, if you can laugh at yourself.

When people tell me they have strategy consultants, ITIL, SCRUM, KABAN, … coaches, architects and these are well embedded in their organization to ensure operational and long term success I always try to envision this. No matter how hard I try to see “marketing brochure” mental picture and the connotation of professionalism and success this is supposed to inspire, I never succeed.

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In reality this is the mental picture I get: barnacles!

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Barnacles, strategists, consultants and coaches at the office inspire me to get a chisel and high pressure cleaner to get rid of these. Barnacles slow us down, reduce efficiency and lead to structural damage.

Most organizations are failing due to their obsession with failing. That’s why ITIL is considered a success. All evidence to the contrary I must add. I have never found an IT professional who had seen any benefits to the success of IT come from ITIL.

ITIL is considered a success by people who are trying to manage IT but who do not understand IT. That’s business analysts, project managers, architect and way to often way too many IT managers. I’m not picking on ITIL per se. Take any methodology in the hands of scared, clueless people and they cling to them like a ship wrecked person to a life preserver. It’s a tool to be used where and when needed. Walking around in one at the office is pretty silly.

ITIL caters to their fears and their childish need to avoid failure. You might say that’s a result, but I think we can at least agree this is not a success or progress, which is the type of result your looking for a business. Still, why do so many waste so much time on processes of control that will not be sustainable in the reality of the field? It soothes fears, if feeds the need to be seen as in charge and having things under control. They think it makes them perceived as being in charge. Basically they’re acting. Like kids, pretending to be what they are not and will never be. It’s a sad day when I have to quote from Corinthians but desperate times call for desperate measures.

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”

Clearly too many people have missed some essential and significant steps or got stuck in them in professional life. Clever consultants and coaches cash in on delivering the instruments to anticipate problems, avoid problems, detect problems, manage change to avoid problems and last but not least provide framework to proactively deal with anything up to and including nuclear warfare. In my reality these people are more on par with racketeers, con men, liars and priest of false religions. As in real life they can make big money and gain a lot of influence and power, but only if you allow them to. However, does not make them right.

Failure is not an option. It is, for all practical purposes, guaranteed and free of charge. What you need is smart people, who understand the context, have a great situational awareness and possess the ability to think and act fast. This is not the same as wasting time and money in endless meetings, task forces and procedures. It’s always what you never considered that will get you in the end. Solve the problems you have fast, effective and decisively to the best of your abilities and in alignment with the environment. If you can do that, you have just made progress on route to success! The results are fast, measurable and simple enough as they are noticeable without a microscope.

There is way too much waste in governance leading to the exact opposite of what one is, supposedly, trying to achieve which is a better and more successful business. In fact, these activities in cost and head count outnumber people delivering tangible results by 3 to 1 and in some cases even more. They appoint blame and steal success as in reality the main purpose is to avoid being blamed themselves and to look good in order to get ahead.

Meanwhile your organization keeps failing as you keep adding overhead, head count and expenses. What you need to do is let your good and best employees excel at what they do best: achieve progress and move along. You need to steer that effort and ability towards the company goals and stimulate your employees.

Move fast, navigate through the unpredictable waters and learn how to deal with the fallout effectively. Whatever you do, don’t think that more governance is the way forward or is real work versus actual progress through results. Face it, you are probably not a nuclear power plant or highly regulated medical institution. You’re most likely a SME trying to thrive with limited budgets, resources and time. So not wasting any of it is paramount. Get rid of the crud, mend your sails and chop the barnacles of your ship’s hull. You can achieve more with men of steel on wooden ships than vice versa. The latter tend to stay and rust in safe harbors. In the end this does not mean you’re reckless!

Is the cloud failing or are you?

The cloud is not failing. That’s the good news. Now for the bad.

Many people complain about the mess their cloud usage has become and how cloud sales people did not tell them to read the small print. As a business, whether for profit or a non profit you need people in charge with a reasonably amount of intelligence and a drive to push the organization forward, not just themselves.  You can not take the easy way out, pocket your pay check and let the “details and annoying technicalities” to your employees. Basically you’re saying “screw you” to them so don’t be surprised when that works both ways. If your cloud projects are failing is due to the same reason your other IT projects were failing. You’re doing it wrong.

In a world of political correctness, this is going to sound harsh. But that’s not the problem. The problem is that you as a business, a manager, a “leader” are failing. You are failing and you’re incapable of dealing with that fact. Because it hurts your sensitivities. Well you are hurting your employees, your customers, your future.

Way to many cloud (private/hybrid/public) projects are done as “self service” or minimal effort projects. There is no design. There is no expertise, experience, knowledge, context or a deeper understanding of the systems, their interactions, capabilities and needs. In this commodity world it just has to work. Nothing just works. Deal with it. If you don’t put value on the above that’s how things end up.

Cloud project in many environments look way too much like a classic house where they bolted on new fashioned extensions without a clue about how to do what they were doing. By doing so they ruined the roof, the wiring, the isolation, the functionality and livability. It’s leaking, it’s rotting the house and fungi rule the realm.

You did not get what you paid for but you get exactly what you value: nothing.

It’s not that you don’t spend ridiculous amounts of money. You outsourced all your in house capabilities and expertise and on top of that you’re are paying 3 to 5 times too much for services and “consultants” that have been on your payroll for decade. You don’t even even have the capabilities in house to realize the above anymore. If you do they probably have gone into hiding. You buy over priced shit on a daily basis and are told it’s great and what the industries best practices dictate.

The fallacy that IT, which is the cloud and nothing but the cloud for many today, is nothing but a commodity that has to work out of the box at the cheapest possible price is making you fail. But how could that be?  After all it’s just computers in the cloud so you don’t even have to hook up the power and a cable any more. No? These almost absurd simplifications that are in play here are totally pushing aside knowledge, experience, skills, a continuous educational effort. The end result, excellent service to your business and / or customers, dies a thousand small deaths in collateral damage.

You’re deploying cloud solutions without planning, coordination, design, governance, responsibilities, skills and what not. You’ve lost control over your (cloud)  IT. You’ve lost control over the data, the access, the backups, disaster recovery, the accounts of the service subscription, everything. These are the essential parts of a functional, maintainable, cost effective and supportable IT environment. This will bite you hard, deep and will perhaps bleed you to death.

This is not the cloud failure. It’s you. If you go about “old school” on premises IT the same way the failures are there as well. So you hate the solutions you pay way too much for, you hate the lousy service and the lack results. You get shafted every day.

The easy fix you come up with is just more of the same. More consulting, more work and responsibility avoiding, more meetings, task forces, more multi year over sized super projects that are doomed to fail because there a more than enough people to take your money form idiots.

How is this possible? Because I way too many places criticism has been banned and died. Meanwhile in that political correct always peaceful and quiet environment real damage is done to people as talent, motivation, money and value is destroyed along with a better future. No one in those places has any skin in the game as you risk more by doing your job than by watching the place go to hell. Good luck!

To any one else: there are real experts out there that can really help you. All you have to do is value results, your business and your clients.