Day In, Day Out

Presidents have a Day. Saint Patrick has a Day. The American flag has a Day. Laborershave a Day. Mothers and fathers and grandparents have a Day. Then there's a Day forsecretaries, valentines and bosses. Now, while waiting with bated breath for Editor's Day,here comes a Day to recognize IS professionals.

In case you missed the e-mails, ties and flowers, (what do you get for the ITprofessional who has everything?), the day came and went, with little fanfare, on June 21,1999. Don't blame HP, sponsors of the first-ever -- drum-roll, please -- National ISAppreciation Day.

The day before the official start of PC Expo, HP corporate execs, Neal Martini, seniorVP and GM of HP's Commercial LaserJet Business Unit and Tony DiCairano, area sales managerfor the North Atlantic Region, were on hand, along with Michael Miller, editor-in-chief ofPC Magazine, Carolyn G. Rose, CEO of HyCurve, Inc., Alan P. Hald, cofounder of MicroAgeand Marianne Grogan, president of Intelliquest Information Group, at the Grand Hyatt inNew York City to commemorate the event.

Vice-President, Al Gore, famous Internet inventor, and presidential candidate, sent hiswarmest and fuzziest wishes in a letter (printed on recycled paper) that read in part,"The entrepreneurial spirit and ethic of hard work and diligence that have drivenyour success are examples to the world of the values that make America the nation of hopeand opportunity for all." And did you take the National Appreciation Day Challenge?Apparently more than 8,500 IS professionals answered the National Appreciation Day TriviaChallenge question: "In what year did HP introduce the first HP LaserJetprinter?" But nearly half didn't come up with the answer of 1984. For shame. Forshame.

More interesting were several findings presented from the TechnoPulse Survey, a jointundertaking between HP and Intelliquest Information Group (Austin, Texas). More than 75%of IS professionals feel their jobs are essential (31%) or important (46%). However,respondents generally believe that their fellow non-IS professionals underestimate theirvalue, predicting that 30% would say it would be business as usual (7%) or that workefficiency would be slowed only somewhat (23%) if the IS department went on strike.Perhaps an IS Appreciation Day is just the prescription to cure those Information AgeBlues.

But I found it more than curious that HP IS Appreciation Day was sponsored by CarolynTicknor's LaserJet Imaging Systems, the group responsible for HP's printing,multi-function and imaging products. So I found myself asking, "Where's the InternetSoftware Business Unit (ISBU) responsible for E-Services? Where are the HP representativesfrom the HP 3000, HP 9000 and NetServer divisions? Aren't they an important part of the ISAppreciation equation?"

Although well-intentioned, the event seemed to miss the point of HP's own rhetoricwhich is to "gather IS professionals, technology leaders and market innovators toexplore the issues raised by HP's TechnoPulse survey and to evaluate the future of thetechnology industry." HP's Enterprise Computer Organization (which houses HP serversand software) missed an especially important synergistic moment to present a unified frontwith their peripheral counterparts. Consequently, HP National IS Appreciation Day, whichHP would like to see become an annual occurrence, seemed like nothing more than a shillfor HP's very well-known peripheral products.