KISS: Keep IT simple, stupid

The volume of jargon and acronyms used by IT people is no longer a measure of expertise. Rodrigo Parreira, CEO at Logicalis LATAM, urges us to simplify the language we use in IT in order to move mountains.

According to Gartner, buyers are drowning in a sea of complexity and jargon. An Alphabetti bowl of acronyms and a plethora of solutions and services are confounding rather than enlightening customers. People are sitting in meeting rooms and secretly wondering what the hell everyone is talking about – which is impeding their ability to make well-informed business decisions.

Does this sound familiar?

An awful lot of fancy window dressing goes on in the IT industry; some of which shrouds the huge potential available to customers to transform their organisation for the better. Navigating the many different offerings in the marketplace distracts from the ultimate question – how will my business benefit? According to Wharton researchers, 74% of executives believe complexity is inhibiting their growth strategies and tactics.

So how can we demystify the industry and clear minds, to make more effective decisions?


Apple’s former ad man, Kevin Segall recently went on a promotion tour to publicise his latest book: Think Simple, a follow-up to his first book: Insanely Simple. In both volumes, he imparts some pearls of wisdom, gleaned from working with the late, great Steve Jobs.

Whereas Apples’ rivals offer customers a dizzying array of PCs and phones, Apple only presents a limited selection of devices, along with a tacit, but very reassuring promise that this is all they need.

Apple perfects what a famous retail study uncovered, when it displayed 14 types of juices on sale in one part of a store, and seven types in another part. The table with 14 got more traffic, but the table with seven sold more.

Steve Jobs found pleasure in reducing a product’s feature set. He hated clutter. Others are now following suit. Segall’s latest book interviews CEOs of companies to find out how they are simplifying their operations to become the Apple of their respective industries.

Turn stuff off

Technology has a starring role to play in simplifying organisations – when used in moderation. However, it can also beget more complexity – when consumed greedily.

The vast array of software and services is powering the cycle between simplicity and complexity.

On the one hand people are moving to SaaS applications in the cloud to modernise and streamline their infrastructure – on the other, they’re deploying new technology, like collaboration tools, without replacing or reducing email for instance.

The very technology they’re using to simplify their operations, is being added to, modified and replicated to such an extent, it’s starting to reset the cycle and choke the very system it sought to simplify in the first place.

According to Dee Burger, North America CEO of Capgemini Consulting, complexity occurs when technologies overlap with one another - "when you add new stuff but keep the old instead of getting rid of it…Sometimes you have to turn something off and see who yells”.

Speak plainly

The Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) principle should inform the language that we use. George Orwell once said, “Good prose should be transparent, like a window pane.” So should the technology industry’s lexicon and approach. By using fewer words and talking directly to business benefits and outcomes, we can lift the veil of confusion enveloping the IT industry and its customers.

Simple doesn’t mean rudimentary or basic. Quite the opposite. According to Jobs, simple is harder than complex but once you get there, “You can move mountains”.

Tags IT Leadership, customer focus, IT leaders, IT trends, IT Trends, IT Transformation