I, Cringely The U.S. computer industry is dying and I’ll tell you exactly who is killing it and why – I, Cringely

First is the lemming effect where several businesses in an industry all follow the same bad management plan and collectively kill themselves.  We saw it in the airline industry in the 1980s and 90s.  They all wanted to blame regulation, then deregulation, then something else. The result was decimation and consolidation of America’s storied airlines and the services of those consolidated companies generally sucks today as a result. Their failings made necessary Southwest, Jet Blue, Virgin America and other lower-cost yet better-service airlines.The IT services lemming effect has companies promising things that can not be done and still make a profit.  It is more important to book business at any price than it is to deliver what they promise.  In their rush to sign more business the industry is collectively jumping off a cliff. This mad rush to send more work offshore (to get costs better aligned) is an act of desperation.  Everyone knows it isn’t working well.  Everyone knows doing it is just going to make the service quality a lot worse.  If you annoy your customer enough they will decide to leave. The second issue is you can’t fix a problem by throwing more bodies at it.  USA IT workers make about 10 times the pay and benefits that their counterparts make in India.  I won’t suggest USA workers are 10 times better than anyone, they aren’t.  However they are generally much more experienced and can often do important work much better and faster (and in the same time zone).  The most effective organizations have a diverse workforce with a mix of people, skills, experience, etc. By working side by side these people learn from each other.  They develop team building skills.  In time the less experienced workers become highly effective experienced workers.  The more layoff’s, the more jobs sent off shore, the more these companies erode the effectiveness of their service.  An IT services business is worthless if it does not have the skills and experience to do the job. The third problem is how you treat people does matter.  In high performing firms the work force is vested in the success of the business.  They are prepared to put in the extra effort and extra hours needed to help the business — and they are compensated for the results.  They produce value for the business.  When you treat and pay people poorly you lose their ambition and desire to excel, you lose the performance of your work force.  It can now be argued many workers in IT services are no longer providing any value to the business.  This is not because they are bad workers.  It is because they are being treated poorly.  Firms like IBM and HP are treating both their customers and employees poorly.  Their management decisions have consequences and are destroying their businesses.

Source: I, Cringely The U.S. computer industry is dying and I’ll tell you exactly who is killing it and why – I, Cringely