James Governor draws a nice analogy between learning how to cook and learning to rely on your staff to develop and implement IT infrastructure. In either case, you can get pre-packaged solutions. But these solutions won’t solve long-term needs.
Next time a vendor pitches you a “solution" ask yourself what are they afraid of? Is this science or an illusion of science? And if you choose this “organic IT solution" what are you missing out on? What nourishment? What experience? What set of skills that you can apply in other areas?
I think he’s exactly on point about the slippery simplicity of buying comprehensive solutions. Naturally, this also applies to analytics solutions (like an Cognos or Business Objects implementation), instead of developing capability in-house.
It’s better to teach a man to fish than to give him a fish. And it’s better to know the data and how to manipulate that data, than to learn a “solution". It’s better to concentrate on solving your concrete problems than to implement a solution that solves all problems.
There are wonderful, cheap tools available now. The dynamic languages: Perl, Python, Ruby. JMP. Even something as simple as Excel with our DTP framework can do powerful things. At Juice, we’re learning ways to cook up concrete solutions out of cheap componentry and teach them to your staff so that the next time a need arises, your staff can cook for themselves.