The Fanboy and The Professional

This post sponsored by the Enterprise CIO Forum and HP.

In the world of IT / technology, we have two main types of people: The Professional and The Fanboy.

The Professional

The Professional is the backbone of IT.

They are the people that spend their entire career toiling away in an under-appreciated, over-worked and continuously under-funded job function.

They view technology as an enabler for the business and work to make sure their organization has the ‘right’ technology.

They are pragmatic, yet open to new approaches and ideas…even radical ideas that mean real change for them and their organization. While they may not like the change, they see the reason for the change and work to make it happen.

The Professional is the person that makes IT ‘work’.  They are the Clydesdale of the business world…they can pull their weight plus much more….and they are always available when needed.

The Professional is the person that will engage in intelligent discussions about the current state of IT and the future role of technology and the IT professional in organizations.  These are the folks that understand that IT is ever-changing and they need to change to keep up. They may not be happy that their role is changing, but they understand that it is and are willing to have the conversation.

The Professional understands that Shadow IT exists and that technology ownership will continue to migrate away from IT. They are doing their best to find ways to help secure, manage and support other’s technology projects.

Without The Professional, the IT group, and the organization will be stuck in place without the ability to move.

The Fanboy

The Fanboy is the coccyx of IT.

They are the people that spend their entire career jumping from new technology to new technology without really ever seeing the ‘value’ within any.

They view technology as the solution for everything and are always pushing for a ‘new’ technology to be purchased / implemented to solve business problems.

They are utopian in their thinking. While some people use words like ‘visionary’, most times The Fanboy is closer to Don Quixote than Ghandi.

The Fanboy is the person that makes enemies around organizations. They are the ones that point to processes and procedures as reasons for not doing something. They are the reason non-IT folks dislike IT folks.

The Fanboy is the person that will argue that IT is and should be the most important department within every organization. They are the ones that argue that only IT can ‘own’ technology and Shadow IT should be crushed.

Without The Fanboy, the IT group, and the organization, might have to endure a little discomfort at first, but they’ll  soon find their comfort spot and be just fine.

The Fanboy or The Professional

While it can be argued that the coccyx is an important aspect to the stability of the human body since tendons and ligaments attach to it, when compared to the rest of the spine, the coccyx is pretty unimportant.

I’ve interacted with Fanboys my entire career…and they make me tired.  They argue against any change that doesn’t make IT stronger and more powerful. They argue against anything that allows non-IT related groups to have anything to do with technology.

I’ve also interacted with Professionals throughout my career…and they make me excited about the future of IT and technology in business.  They are open to new ideas and they understand that change isn’t “about them” but about the greater good of the organization. They understand that you don’t have to be in IT to need/want technology and do what they can to make technology accessible to everyone.

Most people in the IT world are Professionals…but it only takes a few Fanboys to ruin it for everyone.

Are you a Professional or a Fanboy?

This post sponsored by the Enterprise CIO Forum and HP.

One response to “The Fanboy and The Professional”

  1. VirtChangesEverything Avatar

    I wouldn’t totally dismiss the needed role of the Fanboy. They were arguably early adopters of virtualization and cloud computing long before they were the trends of the moment. Yes, I see the hubris and agree that creating unneeded barriers for BYOD, business-driven projects , etc. is potentially dangerous. Perhaps, the ultimate IT contributor has the enthusiasm of the Fanboy, with the matter-of-fact pragmatics of the Professional. —Paul Calento