solar-eclipse-articleToday, many of us are celebrating an event that is relatively rare: a total eclipse of the sun. The event isn’t only rare on Earth; it’s probably a rarity across the known universe.

The solar eclipses we see from Earth are unusual because of an odd coincidence: the sun is 400 times bigger than the moon, but it’s also 400 times farther away. So on those rare minutes when the moon passes directly between the Earth and the sun, it’s just the right size to blot out the sun – at least from our perspective here on Earth.

Our ancestors had no idea why eclipses happened so they made up all kinds of fables, myths, and legends to explain them. Today, most of have a basic understanding of how the solar system works and we understand that eclipses are natural phenomena.

The myths surrounding eclipses have been replaced by scientific understanding. But many of the myths and fables surrounding IT remain. Here are some examples of IT myths that really need to disappear:

IT is an order taker – Maybe that was true 20 or 30 years ago, but it’s not the case today. Sure, IT supports the needs of the business; but IT also drives innovation and transformation across the modern enterprise.

IT is a cost center – Most of the CIOs and IT executives I know have wrung the last penny of savings from their IT operations. In my experience, IT is often the most economical and efficient function in the enterprise.

IT is a follower, not a leader – Because of their skills and training, CIOs and IT executives are great sources of knowledge and technical expertise. That makes them perfect guides, advisors, mentors and partners when the enterprise needs to apply new technologies to solve critical business problems. Nowadays, CIOs and IT executives are often tapped to lead complex projects involving new technologies, multiple vendors, and strategic partnerships.

IT doesn’t matter – Frankly, I think this claim has been thoroughly debunked. But I still hear some people repeating it and I still read articles raising the question of whether IT still matters. Let me state clearly and unambiguously that IT does matter. In fact, IT matters more than ever before. In today’s modern global economy, every company is a digital company and every company depends on dynamic combinations of sophisticated information technologies. Anyone who says IT doesn’t matter hasn’t been paying attention.

I’m delighted that brilliant thinkers like Galileo, Copernicus, and Newton “busted” the myths surrounding eclipses. And I’m happy to do my part in “busting” the myths surrounding IT.

I hope you enjoy the eclipse, and please remember not to look directly at the sun unless you’re wearing special glasses that meet ISO 12312-2 specifications. In any event, please exercise caution and use common sense. Click on this NASA link for more information. I also recommend this explanatory article in The New York Times.