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Frank Buytendijk

Welcome to my BeyeNETWORK blog, in which I will give you a little bit of a view "behind the scenes" of the articles that I am working on. In these articles and blogs in my channel, I'll be discussing IT matters from a more strategic and philosophical point of view. As the famous joke goes, "How many philosophers does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, but eight others to confer about how Nietzsche would have done it." What better place to confer than on the BeyeNETWORK.

About the author >

Frank's professional background in strategy, performance management and organizational behavior gives him a strong perspective across many domains in business and IT. He is an entertaining speaker at conferences all over the world, and was recently called an “intellectual provocateur” and described as “having an unusual warm tone of voice.” His work is frequently labeled as provocative, deep, truly original, and out of the box. More down to earth, his daughter once described it as “My daddy sits in airplanes, stands on stages, and tells jokes.” Frank is a former Gartner Research VP, and a seasoned IT executive. Frank is also a visiting fellow at Cranfield University School of Management, and author of various books, including Performance Leadership (McGraw-Hill, September 2008), and Dealing with Dilemmas (Wiley & Sons, August 2010). Frank's newest book, Socrates Reloaded, is now available and is highly recommended. Click here for more information on how to get your copy today.

Editor's Note: More articles and a link to his popular blog are available in Frank's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

So, here's a new set of articles. Although they are not directly about business intelligence, I think they are extremely relevant for information management professionals.

What is technology, and what should technology do for us? These seem simple questions, but try to answer them... the answer that I like best is that technology should augment human capability. But is technology doing that? Or are we as users often more the slave of technology? The typical ERP user would probably not feel technology is making him or her stronger, better or faster. Well, maybe a stronger desire he'd better get out of the door faster at 5pm.

And analytical technologies? Have they made us smarter? Or have we become the slave of planning applications, key performance indicators on scorecards and so forth?

In the first article, I explore what technology really is.

In the second article I am contrasting two major schools of thought on how to design and treat technology. The engineering view and the humanistic view. What view is supported by your IT strategy?

The third and concluding article attempts to speculate on what the role of technology would or could be in the future, using dialectical thinking. With some interesting conclusions!

frank (@FrankBuytendijk)

PS. Want to read more? Check out "Socrates Reloaded"!

Posted October 16, 2012 10:22 AM
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Finally, the book is out... "Socrates Reloaded: The Case for Ethics in Business and Technology"

Are you enjoying the articles of B-Eye-Network? The published articles formed the basis of a book, "Socrates Reloaded". Essays with a common theme: how would the old philosophers view modern themes in business and IT.

Light reading, but with a serious intention. Making people think and question what is right and wrong. In times of extreme technology innovation, we simply don't keep up in organizing for the use of new technology. This leads to serious risk of doing the wrong things with technology.

In fact, I don't think it is a very controversial prediction that in the years to come some public officials and executives will have to step down because they didn't think through the consequences of the use of technology for data integration purposes, privacy issues, security issues and plain reputation risk.

We need DEBATE on what is right and wrong. And "Socrates Reloaded" is all about that debate. Pick it up on amazon.com and let me know what you think!

The B-Eye-Network has played an important role in getting the book done. Thank you Jean Schauer and Kerry Flood for all the editing work. And also thank you Rick van der Lans, for making a remark a few years ago that got me going: "best practices are the solutions for yesterday's problems".



Posted September 10, 2012 4:12 AM
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A new series of articles, on analytics and business ethics. Is business amoral, because the market supposedly is values-free? If the aim of business is to generate profit, lots of people would agree. Business should follow the instructions of the shareholders, and should let moral debates take place there. Others believe that business management has a strong moral obligation to society. The objective is to be profitable, as much as you can, but only by doing things that are good.

This is not a CSR style discussion, or about being green, but on matters of governance, privacy, bringing real value to business. In short: hard-core business matters. With so many business struggling with "trust" issues, I don't believe that you can uphold the business-being-amoral line of argumentation. Businesses have a responsibility to all stakeholders.

For their own interest, certainly. Kant would go even further and argue that that is the wrong reason. The right reason is because as a business you believe it is the right thing to do. Business should develop a strong moral compass.

One of the areas where this discussion should be hot is in analytics. In my first article on the topic I am going deeper into the business process side of business ethics. How can we create a business operation that takes ethical considerations into account? If that is not the basis, further discussion is useless. It will hold up everything else.

In further articles on the subject, I will then address the analytical side. Stay tuned!


P.S. The book is out! Check it out on Amazon.

Posted September 10, 2012 3:58 AM
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We're sort of half way through what I have planned to write about philosophy and technology, and the area of analytics in particular. The common theme so far has been how the old philosophers would view modern themes in business and technology...

But what is my opinion? Although I don't want to compare myself to the old philosophers, it is my pick of topics, my interpretation, so at one moment it does become relevant what I believe in. This is what I am describing in my latest article here. Knowing where a discussion partner stands helps creating a better discussion and argumentation.

So, where do you stand?


PS. The book, on which these essays are based, called "Socrates Reloaded" is out. I'll start promoting it in a few weeks time, but it is already available on amazon already. Order it now!

... and follow me on @FrankBuytendijk for updates, and check www.frankbuytendijk.com for more information!

Posted August 3, 2012 6:57 AM
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Every profession has its own philosophy. There's political philosophy, medical philosophy, legal philosophy, religious philosophy, scientific philosophy and so forth. There is also a branch called philosophy of technology, but during a brief moment of popularity, it was dominated by cyberpunks and futurists. Somehow philosophy is not very popular in the IT industry.

In this new series of articles I will argue that this is odd, at the least. First of all, as I point out in the first article, IT professionals and philosophers have a lot in common. Well, except that IT professional are paid better perhaps. Also, I think it makes sense to know a little bit about philosophy for practical purposes in our daily affairs.

In the second article I am showing why IT philosophy is important right now, and will make it actionable by explaining what it takes to be an IT philosopher. Wouldn't we all want to be one?


Twitter: @FrankBuytendijk

Posted June 20, 2012 1:50 PM
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