CIO Symmetry

Mar 25 2010   8:26PM GMT

Gaga for Google Fiber? We’re all a bit crazy when it comes to tech

Kristen Caretta Kristen Caretta Profile: Kristen Caretta

The Google Fiber for communities deadline is right around the corner. In an effort to test out its plans for high-speed broadband and fiber-to-the-home connections, Google has asked interested communities to step forward and express why they might be a good fit for the super-fast test installation.

And boy, these communities really want some high-speed Internet.

Al Franken is on YouTube pulling for Minnesota, Topeka unofficially renamed itself Google for the month of March, and mayors are jumping into icy lakes to implore Google to bring the great wide-open (erm, high-speed broadband) home.

As the scramble continued, I started to wonder two things:

  • How much government time and resources are being spent on this big Google “maybe,” and;
  • Just how different is this technology craze compared with, say, any CIOs or IT managers pushing for the latest and greatest technology must-haves in their own organizations.

OK, so maybe they aren’t organizing flash mobs in the hopes of proving cloud computing benefits to the business (right?), but there are some similarities here. Technology is available that could potentially give you a boost — and you really want it. But when is it prudent to focus on best business practices as opposed to reach out to the unknown?

For example, how much time did Palo Alto city employees spend planning and rehearsing for their City Hall Y.M.C.A-ish dance? Compare that with the time it takes for the IT department to convince the organization that they really are ready for cloud computing or virtualized desktops , only to be turned away due to security concerns, unrealistic offerings or failed project launches — just as many of these cities will probably be overlooked by Google.

So it comes down to this — do you try for the pie-in-the-sky opportunity or do you start putting your ducks in a row internally to achieve that goal on your own? Yes, it’s all a little crazy and served up with a side of publicity stew, but do we sometimes need crazy to keep us looking forward?

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