Information Technology and Workplace Diversity

My career in information technology spans twenty years, but my exposure to information technology started before I was a teenager.  At that time, business productivity was popular, but still regulated to personal desktop computers and IBM Mainframes.  Web services, e-commerce, cellular phones, software services, etc. didn’t exist. Productivity software was truly a one-to-one experience.  You installed software on a computer, you used that software to do your job, printed out the results, and finally handed the information to those who requested it.  There was network communication and email, but it was text based, rudimentary and not secured.

The population of personal computer users was low as well, except in the workplace, where business technology was increasingly evolving into a competitive edge for businesses.  Proprietary software was being replaced by retail options such as Lotus 1-2-3, PC Write, dBase, etc.  As the software industry expanded, so did the talent pool of developers, engineers, administrators, and managers.  New software product life cycles emerged and entire business processes were created.

Today, Information Technology is a much larger reflection of our global society.  A good portion of which extends to collaborative communities of developers and engineers that can be anywhere at anytime.  The irony in not promoting diversity is that a technology company is more likely than ever to have associations and relationships with clients and customers that are very diverse in ideas, backgrounds, cultures, religions, etc.  Diversity is about mitigating the risk of making bad business decisions that would impact a corporate brand as well as building a talented workforce.  It makes economic sense to have a diverse workforce because as the influence of IT continues to expand into globalized infrastructures (i.e., cloud based services and outsourcing), marketing, communication and supply chain processes and projects will need to have work resources that have skills and knowledge in markets where it needs to be competitive and relevant.

Derek Moore, contributor



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