It’s got the feel of 1997-99. I was at Gartner then and we were warning the world about Y2K. The bigger the total remediation cost we projected the more it got reported. The more it got reported, the more opportunistic vendors got. Some companies had spectacular IT project overruns. Others, particularly in their ERP areas, are still suffering from overpriced solutions bought during that mania.
Unfortunately, I see the same hysteria building around sustainability and green stuff. Doomsday scenarios. Vendor selling toolboxes when a hammer may suffice. Vendors with hammers that would break no matter how small the nail. Vendors lobbying regulators to require investments. Guilt based value propositions.
I have been asked a few times since 1999 – did Gartner hype up the Y2k problem for its own benefit? And my response is – well, it did shake and wake people up and eventually make Y2K a relative non-event. But, in retrospect, I do wish we had helped clients protect more against the “greenwashing” that went on back then. And given them more tools to realistically assess the risks and not panic.
This time the stakes are even higher. But we have a bigger set of watchdogs now. Us bloggers. I hope we don’t just report the problem. Or worse, just hype it.