Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Air Time: Informationalist for Hire

After logging 15 years in enterprise IT, carving a career path from front-line support to managing network and system organizations, I had the good fortune several years ago to shift my focus and join the faculty of the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University, what we now call the I-School at Syracuse. While engineering and computer science education has been of great value in fostering the development of innovative products and services, it has also helped to perpetuate a common malady found in many IT organizations: too much T and not enough I.

Clearly, not all IT organizations are guilty of being overly technology-driven. In fact, the mantra of "business-technology alignment" chanted in many an enterprise executive suite has stimulated a bit of an anti-technology bias in some organizations. Far too many senior executives have concluded that IT is a commodity that provides no competitive value, a necessary business service that is easily outsourced, like janitorial services.

The I-Schools have a noble goal: refocusing the boundaries of technology, information and people, and educating a new generation of "informationists."

An informationist is a new breed of professional, technically savvy, but also keenly focused on helping individuals and organizations function more effectively in an information-driven society. In boardrooms and on the street, the toughest problems are often viewed as information problems. An informationist may focus on the individual, searching for ways to help people deal with the real complexities of personal information management. Or the focus may be on complex societal issues, sifting through information haystacks in search of the needles that might prevent an impending act of terrorism.

  • 1