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'Immature Approach' A Danger

I recently read how two CEOs tamed the IT beast in the June 26 issue of Credit Union Journal. For about 16 years I have been doing business systems analysis and LAN WAN implementation. Like hundreds of thousands of other IT professionals, I have a theoretical background via a BS in information systems, but I have also spent years traveling across the states and abroad consulting and providing systems analysis to dozens of different industries. I have learned from some of the best in the industry.

Working for the largest credit union in Hawaii, I have been quite surprised by the lack of mature IT approaches in credit unions. In your article, Jim Blake equates IT as not that different from asset liability management, and specifically (he states) that "there is no specific management approach that applies to technology." These statements are not only incorrect and misleading, they are dangerous and this attitude is the single leading reason we still lag so far behind in technical realms.

Of course there are management philosophy, approaches and skills that apply solely and directly to IT. Hundreds of educational institutions offer advanced degrees in this, and the Department of Defense has been developing the field of IT management since the late 50s. Today, buzzwords that CEOs might recognize, such as "Change Management," and many foundations of Quality Assurance theory were founded in IT management theory.

I have written articles outlining how Jim Nolan's Automatic Data Processing Stages of Acceptance, as published in Harvard's Business Review in the 1980s, gave birth to the now popular Change Management Models like ADKAR and others that are so reverently referred to by top managers in many different industries today.

Education to this fact is a key factor to growth in CUs' approach to IT. Believe me, CUs don't know how much they don't know. Regarding security, there are specific approaches to security fathered by the DOD's site-security handbook and many more recent developments that are completely ignored via ignorance. Regarding analysis and design, there is no knowledge base of IT-specific development theory like SDLC, RAD, and GRAD, and most importantly, requirements studies in CUs. There is no talk of system analysis, just purchase the latest security appliance that has the pretty blinking lights and say you have tamed the beast.

I know many credit union execs won't know for sure what I am talking about, but that is my point. IT management has its own domain, lingo, theory and knowledge base. Hire someone with the knowledge and experience, then let them do the job. That is how you tame the IT beast.

Eric A. Thompson
IT Project Coordinator
Hawaii State FCU, Honolulu

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