Why we workPosted: October 12, 2010
I work mainly for nonprofit electric cooperatives. I enjoy working for companies that exist to provide services without a profit motivation; you may not think companies not motivated by profit exist and I would agree with you – to an extent. Our business model only makes sense when the employees, management and directors are aligned with the mission of the company. These cooperatives work very well when they have specific missions and don’t deviate from those missions or their core competency.
Given our core competency and mission to provide electric service, we support the information technology component.
The purpose of a cooperative IT department, as I see it, is to “utilize appropriate industry technology to enhance service and control costs”. This bullet, taken from several electric cooperative’s mission statements that I have worked for in the past and present, does not change regardless of the times or technology that is prevalent in the times.
As time passes, I am finding that many vendors push their wares and systems without a rhyme, reason, or description of an end result in addressing the mission of the cooperative. These technology artifacts are very eloquently brought to me with grand business cases; these cases are “proven” using relative or absolute metrics from a case study or otherwise that attempt to quantify the payback of their software if implemented – or worse, if not implemented. Then they want to show me a demo of how it works. I will feel obligated to kick the tires of their software or system, so I oblige them. After pointing out all of the neat-o things that this system can do, I will walk away brainwashed and convinced that that my cooperative would be foolish not to purchase this software, system or artifact. I’ll then purchase technology without a purpose; a tool without a requirement for it. It now sits on a shelf and is slowly depreciated. Due to my shortsightedness, I will fail to accomplish my mission.