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Why Do They Call It Chicken??

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted Feb 19, 2001


Charles Robinson

Some of the best conversations I have ever had have been with my children. See, I have two daughters, 9 and 7, and I consider them two of the most intelligent people I know on this planet. The questions they have asked have caused me to stop and ponder for quite some time, never really coming up with a good answer. One example of these questions was asked by my 9 year old when she was about 6.

Some of the best conversations I have ever had have been with my children. See, I have two daughters, 9 and 7, and I consider them two of the most intelligent people I know on this planet. The questions they have asked have caused me to stop and ponder for quite some time, never really coming up with a good answer. One example of these questions was asked by my 9 year old when she was about 6.

We were sitting at the dinner table one night, and she said that the pork we were eating was good. We told her that it was not pork but chicken and she asked why? "Why what?" I asked. "Why do they call it Chicken?" she said. Well, not wanting to look like the complete buffoon that I am, I told her that the first one ever found by man had a nametag on it. After about 5 seconds, she rolled her eyes, smiled and went back to enjoying her meal. I guess she didn't want to let me know that, as good as it sounded, I was a complete idiot and even this 6 year old was not that dumb.

I seam to find myself in very similar situations when trying to explain Information Technology, AKA "Computer Stuff", to someone with no "techie" experience or knowledge. This holds especially true in the following area:

"Justifying to the heads of a company why money should be spent on an IT item"

Now I know that there are people out there that work for a company where the CEO or President is up on "Computer Stuff" and getting the funds to purchase something is fairly easy. They do try and make sure that it is truly needed and it will have some kind of benefit, but they like "toys" as much as we do and would like to see this in their company. Then there are the rest of us. The ones that work for the "Old white guys in ties", that have been in this game long enough to know that things ran fine before the computer came along and cannot see a reason for any of this.

So why is this such a hard sell? What is so hard about seeing that this IT related item will be a benefit to the company and is worth the investment? Well here it is, the best explanation that I can come up with, the reason behind the reason! Ready!!??

The individual you have to get to approve this, the decision maker, is an Accountant by trade, "A Bean Counter" to be exact. They have gone through their entire career figuring out how much it costs to produce something, what is the company's service worth and how to save every last penny that the company can. It's in their blood, so much a part of them that it falls into the food category of importance, without it, they might cease to exist.

Now don't get me wrong, without the "Bean Counter" most companies would not last a week, so they are needed. But think about it. These individuals have always had it easy to justify spending money on something that produces a tangible product that can be touched and sold. Improving a service tech's efficiency by purchasing a tool so he can get more done in an hour is what they call a "No Brainer"!! Now talk to the same person about buying something IT related when most everything we do does not produce a tangible product.

See if this sounds familiar. You walk into the CEO's office and hand him a Purchase Order for a new anti-virus program. He asks why you want to spend the $10,000 dollars and what will the "Return On Investment" or ROI be and when can he expect it?

"Return On Investment" Explanation - It is suggested that a new machine be purchased to produce "Widget A". The company already has a machine the produces "Widget A" but the new one will make 100 more then the old one in the same amount of time. Now you take the profit from the extra 100 and figure out how long it will take you to recoup the money spent on the new machine and see if it is worth it. That is the "Return On Investment".

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