The Financial TImes ran a story about IT and the financial industry (‘IT to fore the financial sector’s growth path’, Sept 20, 2011).
We need financial markets and IT is indispensable in the market. For the IT industry their marriage with the financial industry is made in heaven. From the perspective of the financial sector it often is also a troublesome marriage. But it is a marriage nevertheless and had brought many good things. And bad, depending on your position in the financial universe.
And the article was in line with this view, so nothing really new under the sun. What stroke me, where two remarks: ‘technology, rather than people will be at the forefront of that battle’ and ‘(IT) will make it possible to squeeze the maximum out of the most important clients’. In my view two elements of frightening and utter ugliness.
OK, there is a notion that people sometimes tend to be irrational creatures, technology does have that trait. But people are capable (for a very long time) to make fair judgements. The question is what we really need in times of crisis. And because of that engrained ability to judge, there might be people (also in the financial world) that could imagine that being an important customer, you might not particularly like to be squeezed out, and certainly not to the maximum.
Elements of ugliness, such as these two, creep in what at a first glance seems a reasonable story. And (quasi logical) elements such as these still too often dominate the management thinking and design of an organisation. I am an optimist believing that beauty will win in the end, despite the reality of an abundance existence of ugliness. And that optimism strengthens the necessity to see, notice and uncover ugliness.