In her quite fascinating book "Proust and the Squid", Maryanne Wolf talked about the story of a (English speaking) kid that, although too young to read or write more than the main letters of the alphabet, succeeded to interrupt his mother who was too busy to listen to him by writing her the four following letters "RUDF" – He actually meant "are you deaf?" in a very similar way that people write SMS or tweets. Although he cannot really read (nor write), he was able to switch from the sounds associated to each letter to a simple sentence.
Reading involves a lot of associations and transformations that are progressively 'hardwired' and 'softwired' in our brain through the intensive learning process we follow since our youngest time:
Meaning ßà Phonems ßà Sounds associated to letters ßà Letters ßà signs (RUDF?)
Meaning ßà Phonems ßà Syllabs ßà Combination of letters ßà signs (Are you deaf?)
While a novice reader shall struggle at each step, an expert reader will go from the sign to the meaning in an automated and nearly unconscious way, allowing her to concentrate on the information rather than on the transformation process from signs to letters to syllables to sounds to words to phrases to information (or the reverse for an expert writer…).
(Stretching a bit) we can find similarities with the enterprise IT department's main challenge: linking employees with tools and processes necessary to support the company mission (producing goods or delivering services to other organizations and individuals). This requires a pretty long and complex chain where each link can dim the performance and solidity of the whole chain, and (even worst) insidiously modify the sense of the entire construction:
Company mission ßà Products or services ßà Tools and processes ßà Employees ßà Applications ßà Servers ßà Network ßà Equipments (desktops, routers, PBX…).
Techniques like Wan optimization, Application acceleration and Application performance management can provide performances and guarantees required by the enterprise's remote users. While novice players will strive to manually decode and tune each piece of such complex technology, expert organizations will use Autonomic networking to bridge users to IT over the network in a fully automated manner and Wan Governance to align the value of their application delivery chain to their company's mission.
Are we deaf? May be not that much, finally…
(Lesendes Mädchen sitzt am Fenster mit Vogelbauer und Topfpflanzen, oil on canvas, 44 x 34 cm - Anonymous – XIXth century)