We hear a lot about the power-plays and battles between the business and the IT section. And when it happens, both sides suffer and the business doesn’t move forward.

My career has seen me sitting in both camps. And after all, I started out in technical support. Now as a strategy consultant, I talk to both sides, but guess which is the more difficult?

As a technical person from leaving college, you’d expect me to have a natural affinity with the technical guys. After all, we both love technology and know what it can do.

But something strange happens to technical teams when they get their feet under the table, particularly when part of an outsourced operation.

They stop listening. They’re keepers of the technology. They don’t just fix stuff that breaks, but any plans the business may have to change, too.

No, I have conversations with the business, but all too often, a monologue with the IT guys.

Metro Bank announced recently it had met the twelve-month target it set for new accounts. What’s astounding is that it took the start-up bank less than 30 days to do so.

Its easy to be dismiss this based on the millions the high-street banks spend on marketing. But to do so ignores the facts here.

You see, there was no high profile, A-list celebrity endorsed, multi-media campaign worthy of Hollywood here. No glitzy launch attended by the good and great at the new bank’s HQ. No, Metro’s launch barely made the financial pages at all.

Global banking is in crisis. Banks won’t lend, people won’t spend, so money’s not moving. How could one little bank attract so much money and be so well received?

I was having a meal with friends last night. And its becoming a habit. Not the going out bit, but finding something to write about when I do. I was asked if I still used my Blackberry.

Well, the answer was I do, but I just use mine as a phone now, I don’t use it for my emails. Reason being, lack of opportunity. Let me explain.

Here in the UK, use of a mobile phone when you drive is illegal. So that’s out the window. One of the many downsides of being an old fart like me is needing glasses for reading. Anything smaller than a newspaper headline and I’m snookered.

Now, that means unless I’m sitting down somewhere, the opportunity for that quick flick through emails is gone.

And most sitting-down places have wireless access. That’s the other reason…

Look around the average office. You’ll see lots of desks, some with people sitting on them. More importantly, you’ll see one PC per desk, if there’s anyone sitting there or not.

Think about all that cost. Every PC has a tinware cost, an operating system like Windows® and a licence for every piece of software. Each plugs into a socket and consumes energy. Remember, all that heat and power uses more expensive carbon, too.

The really stupid part is the PC arms race has left us with PC’s too powerful for our needs. We use 5% of their capabilities. They’re 64-bit but we use 32. Each one with a huge disk. What if we could all share one PC and still work as well as before?

Seems one company may have the answer. And it could start an office revolution…

You can never have too much information. Once upon a time, people used to believe that. But they clearly didn’t have access to the Internet – or email.

The truth is, you can’t have too much information. It provides the essential 360° view that’s always required to make a proper decision. But it must be managed and presented right. That’s something I experienced recently.

Like every strategy consultant, I’ve a mix of clients. Some are big, savvy corporates, some not too IT-focussed small businesses. Each have their own particular issues, but this time, it was a local SME client of mine that learned a hard lesson about information overload.

Let me tell you how they – and I got caught out. Big style…

Now here’s a question. The answer’s really quite easy, but seeing it this way may not be. What’s the difference between a cellular and a landline phone?

But before you go off at a tangent, thinking about network topologies, cell stations, radio technologies and all that stuff, remember. I’m asking about what it does, not how it works.

The answer I read was so simple, had such clarity, I now try to see everything in this way. Because I believe that’s the key to presenting a great IT strategy.

Its not about knowing how something works, its about what it does for us.

That bulging wallet that you’re carrying around in your jacket pocket, jeans or handbag is probably stuffed full of plastic, rather than the cash. But do you really need those cards?

Plastic payment cards are an old technology. Older than the Internet and mobile phones. Back then, They were the only way to buy without cash.

That was then and this is now. The Internet is enabling new ways for us to buy and sell. But the banks make a lot of money when you have cards, so they’d like you to keep them. Maybe its time to think about something that works for you instead…

I read an interesting and light-hearted observation from Phil Houghton on Twitter recently. 10th October 2010 will be 10-10-10. That’s 42 in binary.

Of course, keen Douglas Adams and Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fans will instantly realise that the number 42 is the key to the meaning of life, the universe and everything. Here’s a question. what’s the meaning of life to you?

I pose this rather philosophical question because during a meal recently, I said I used Twitter and Facebook. The couple we were with asked if I was trying to change the world.

Maybe I am. If not, what are you and I trying to do with our lives?

This has worried me – so I’ve been thinking about it quite a lot recently. IP and patents. Just how many great things never get off the design paper?

Far too many ideas get patented and never delivered as products. Maybe the inventor can’t deliver, or the idea is bought to keep it hidden.

Perhaps patents should be granted only to bring product to market.

OK, that may sound unfair. If I think of something, it should belong to me. But wait. Imagine the motor car had been patented. Would there have been a race to refine and improve it? Would you be happy buying only one version, having no choice of model or colour?

For people to get the maximum benefit, any great idea should be given the best chance. And that means the fullest exposure. So if you can’t deliver, you lose, not society.

The Cloud. Oh, the arguments. What it is or isn’t, do we take it or leave it. How good or bad, how safe, how sound. Let’s look beyond the hype and bullshit see it’s effect.

As a strategist, I build jigsaws puzzles. Joining up all the pieces to find the whole picture. This time, I’m doing more. I’m trying something new.

I’m about to draw a picture beyond what we know and describe a world never dreamt of. Better fasten your seat belts, folks. We could be in for some turbulence…

Ten years. That’s quite a few lifetimes in technology. If only you could see what I’ve seen. Apologies for that quote from Blade Runner.

I’ve seen – and been part of some amazing things. Long before 2000. At NCR, my head sticking through a bank wall as an ATM went in. Looking back, that was pretty symbolic.

A lot of firsts. Like the first PCs in banks, designing the first PC-banking support systems, helping Internet banking go live. Building new service centres. Yes, I was there, learning. But it wasn’t until LANZen I began to understand what I was part of…

Companies are cutting IT expertise and looking to savagely trim-back infrastructure costs. And virtualisation, with its promise of lower hardware costs is usually the weapon of choice. However, could all this paring back taking us closer to a serious security breach?

Well, IBM certainly thinks so. And I agree. Given that “you can’t attack what you can’t see”, PC-based servers flash like a tart on a drinking binge.

They all use Intel’s ubiquitous x86 processor or the AMD variant, but this cheap, one size fits all solution is weak and wide open to attack, unlike its bigger cousins.

IBM warns against virtualisation for any system holding critical regulatory compliant data. Especially virtualised Intel x86-based systems used in PCI DSS environments…