Reshaping the IT world

February 16, 2012
By

(This article was first published on mages' blog, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

During my university time I worked on the IT help desk for a while. One day I received a call from a professor, who said that his printer had stopped working. So I asked him, if there was a message on the display and if he could read it to me. "Oh yes", he said, "it says: 'Load A4 paper.'"

Rachel King quotes a study by Cisco on ZDnet, which believes to have found out that college students and young employees under the age of 30 would rather take a lower salary than having no social media freedom, device flexibility and work mobility.

It feels like the 1960's in a lot of offices and IT departments of today. A younger generation is demanding more freedom and fun. It just not called rock music, mini skirts or of course the anti baby pill, which the generation of my professor was fighting for. That's all established now. It is the digital equivalent of those rights and I can understand that IT departments are concerned about this.

It is fascinating to observe how consumer IT goods and software enter offices, e.g. employees wanting to switch from their corporate QWERTY-smartphones to their own touch-screen devices. Of course there have always been geeks and youngsters who tried to push the boundaries of the corporate IT policy, but today they are joined by the most senior guys: the C-suite, who want to show of their new gadgets and tablets to their peers.

Risk mitigation is the key. The growing demand for a more flexible IT infrastructure has seen new companies sprung up to solve those business problems, be it to create a secure connection from private devices into corporate networks or to support open source software like Linux and R. The Economist published an insightful special report on this subject in October 2011, so did Accenture, and the German news magazine Der Spiegel titled an article "Ferrari at home and horse-drawn carriage in the office".

There is one company that has reshaped the IT world more than others over the last few years, and that is Apple. Their shareholders have been rewarded for its innovations and bravery of entering new markets, see Apple's stock market performance below. Maybe worthwhile mentioning when you have challenging conversations with your IT folks.



The chart above shows Apple's weekly closing share prices and volumes over time since 1984, sourced from Yahoo! Finance and displayed as a time line using the Google Visualisation API in R with googleVis. You find a very similar example in the googleVis help page of gvisAnnotatedTimeLine.



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