Charlie Brown, Lucy and that (American) Football

Fellow fans of the Charles M Schulz comic strip, Peanuts, will be familiar with the recurring story of Lucy and that (American) football.  In the autumn of every year, Lucy promises to hold a football for Charlie Brown to kick and, every year, she pulls it away as he follows through causing him to fly in the air and land painfully on his back.  Charlie was never shown as successfully kicking the ball in the comic strip.

Charlie is a classic case of the triumph of hope over experience.  The tale of Charlie Brown and that (American) football sprang to mind as I was reviewing a spate of IT news stories recently that also seem to reflect the triumph of hope over experience:

·        Beware the hype for software as a service’

·        ‘Outsourcing is harder to manage than you may think’

·        ‘2008 Security Survey: We’re spending more, but data’s no safer than last year’

All IT companies are guilty of hyperbole in their claims for how each new technology evolution will revolutionise the way we work, leading to ever greater efficiencies and effectiveness.

You will hear more in the coming year from all technology companies (including in this blog) on the merits of software as a service, virtualisation and reducing carbon emissions with newer, more efficient IT.  Whether any one or a mix of these technologies will deliver a step change in the business value of IT remains to be seen.

Like Charlie Brown, who needs to hope that Lucy will relent one year and hold the ball steady so that he can kick the perfect field goal, we need to remain ever hopeful that technology can provide the answer to delivering a better citizen experience of online public sector services.

 Posted by Ian

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