Nå om dagen hører jeg på Sherlock Holmes, lest av Stephen Fry, og i en av de siste novellene, The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans, beskriver Sherlock Holmes sin bror Mycroft:
«By the way, do you know what Mycroft is?»
I had some vague recollection of an explanation at the time of the Adventure of the Greek Interpreter.
«You told me that he had some small office under the British government.»
«I did not know you quite so well in those days. One has to be discreet when one talks of high matters of state. You are right in thinking that he is under the British government. You would also be right in a sense if you said that occasionally he IS the British government.»
«My dear Holmes!»
«I thought I might surprise you. Mycroft draws four hundred and fifty pounds a year, remains a subordinate, has no ambitions of any kind, will receive neither honour nor title, but remains the most indispensable man in the country.»
«Well, his position is unique. He has made it for himself. There has never been anything like it before, nor will be again. He has the tidiest and most orderly brain, with the greatest capacity for storing facts, of any man living. The same great powers which I have turned to the detection of crime he has used for this particular business. The conclusions of every department are passed to him, and he is the central exchange, the clearinghouse, which makes out the balance. All other men are specialists, but his specialism is omniscience. We will suppose that a minister needs information as to a point which involves the Navy, India, Canada and the bimetallic question; he could get his separate advices from various departments upon each, but only Mycroft can focus them all, and say offhand how each factor would affect the other. They began by using him as a short-cut, a convenience; now he has made himself an essential. In that great brain of his everything is pigeon-holed and can be handed out in an instant. Again and again his word has decided the national policy. He lives in it. He thinks of nothing else save when, as an intellectual exercise, he unbends if I call upon him and ask him to advise me on one of my little problems.»
Når politikerne passer på at digitalisering skal foregå innenfor rammen av eksisterende organisasjonsstrukturer og departementsområder, går de glipp av den muligheten som Mycroft representerer.
Kanskje vi skulle fått en ny minister, med et overgripende ansvar for teknologi, systemer og prosesser på tvers av alle departementer, som kunne skjære gjennom alle siloene og faktisk få til litt fremgang (slik de har gjort i Estland, der man kunne starte på nytt, uten etablerte forsvarsmekanismer.)
Lurer på om Mycroft er tilgjengelig.
(Eller, som en CIO jeg kjente i USA sa det: «God created the world in seven days. He did not have an installed base.»)