I love good novels. I read and learn from a lot of technology texts (and we publish many of them), but after a long day of work, nothing can beat finding a comfortable place and reading a few chapters in a thriller or mystery. The categories of technology books and novels are not mutually exclusive however, and in this column and the next few, I’ll give you a teaser of some of the novels that Technics Publications has published, which by the way are also technology books. Each is full of important learnings that are conveyed through characters, plot, and drama. In this column, I’ll cover the FruITion series by Chris Potts.
I had a phone call with Chris Potts a number of years ago. He was pitching a book to me. Author pitching to Publisher, not an uncommon conversation. However, what was different was Chris’ approach to the book. I remember during this conversation him telling me that he started writing a book on Information Technology (IT) strategy, and when he realized the hundreds of pages it would take to cover plus the potentially dry subject matter, he decided to give up on this approach and write a novel which will convey the same points as this book but in a much more entertaining style. Would I be interested in publishing it? My response – definitely!
Chris Potts wrote a trilogy for us called the FruITion series (the capital “IT” stands for “Information Technology”). The first book was FruITion, where many of the characters were introduced whom Chris also weaved through the next two books. The drama in this first book is the confrontation that exists between business and IT. Do you ever notice the sparks that can fly between business and IT within your own organization? A CIO and CEO have conflicts and they need to work this out for the good of the company (and for the good of IT and the CIO’s job). What should the role of IT be within our organization? You will join the CIO Ian for this quest and find out.
There is also a quest in the second book of the series, RecrEAtion (the capital ‘EA’ stands for “Enterprise Architecture”). Simon is a seasoned Enterprise Architect who joins a corporation in New York as their first-ever Vice President of Enterprise Architecture. On his very first day, he meets the global CEO who asks Simon “What do you do?” Simon’s reply triggers the CEO to respond in a way that the book’s hero least expects. What follows is a journey across continents and oceans in which Simon uncovers the true meaning of Enterprise Architecture, who is doing it, and how successful they are.
The third book in the series is DefrICtion (the capital “IC” stands for “Investment Culture”). In this conclusion to the trilogy, Michael, CEO of a $64 billion global corporation, is challenging how his organization invests in change. Despite having ‘best practices’ in place, spearheaded by Finance, he’s convinced that many of the company’s investments in change are still not delivering the most value they can, or even the value they promised. Late one night, while reading a hard-to-believe Business Case for an IT transformation, he makes it his business to find out why.
I related to many characters throughout this trilogy, especially Simon the enterprise architect. There are many messages throughout the series, and at the end of each chapter, Chris Potts lists some of the takeaways he believes are important from what has transpired in the chapter. The author plays the role of someone looking in and watching the characters do what they do. I found myself drawn to these books, in the same way I am drawn to a Stephen King book I am currently reading.
Now a little bit of cliffhanger, I spoke with Potts last week and there is a fourth book that will be released within the next twelve months. It will be a different kind of book, but I have a feeling it will be just as captivating. Stay tuned!